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Obama touts Obamacare: 'I think that Democrats should forcefully defend the law'

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President Barack Obama announced yesterday from the James S. Brady Briefing Room of the White House that more than 8 million Americans have enrolled in Private Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) on the health insurance marketplaces as of April 15, reported Talking Points Memo. It was just a mere two weeks ago that Obama announced in the Rose Garden that 7.1 million had enrolled in the Private QHPs.

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With the announcement is telling Democrats to take ownership of the Affordable Care Act. Obama pointedly said to Democrats. "With respect to the Affordable Care Act, my point is that we’ve been having a political fight about this for five years. We need to move on to something else. That’s what the American people are interested in. I think that Democrats should forcefully defend the law."

Obama also warned Republicans. "If Republicans want to spend all their time talking about repealing a law that’s working, that’s their business. I think what Democrats should do is not be defensive, but we need to move on and focus on other things that are really important to the American people right now."

Obama's advice to Democrats. Run on Obamacare. It is a winner.

"The bottom line is the share of Americans with health insurance is up," President Barack Obama said from the James Brady White House briefing room. "This thing is working."

It most certainly is working. In his remarks, Obama took a shot at the non-believers, the Republican Party.

"I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck," the president said. "They still can’t bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working."

He said under the law, the share of Americans with insurance has grown, the growth of healthcare costs has fallen, hundreds of millions of Americans who already have insurance now have new benefits and protections and no one with a pre-existing health condition can be denied coverage.

"Those days are over. And this thing is working," Obama said.

HealthCare.Gov came stumbling out of the gate last October, but this undoubtedly eases the pressure on the Obama administration and increases pressure on Republicans to show why the law is not good.

The White House released a fact sheet on the success of the health insurance launch, saying simply, "The Affordable Care Act is working." Adding to their enthusiasm, "It is giving millions of middle class Americans the health care security they deserve, it is slowing the growth of health care costs and it has brought transparency and competition to the Health Insurance Marketplace."

In addition to the 8 million enrollees on the Private QHPs, the White House also announced that 35 percent of those who signed up are under 35 years old and that 28 percent are between 18 and 34 years old.

This is a mirror image of the youth percentage that signed up in Massachusetts in their first year of health reform.

According to the White House fact sheet, 3 million young adults gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act by being able to stay on their parents plan. 3 million more people were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP as of February, compared to before the Marketplaces opened. Medicaid and CHIP enrollment continues year-round.

In a number that may be low according to the Rand Survey, 5 million people are enrolled in plans that meet ACA standards outside the Marketplace, according to a CBO estimate.

In a sour note, 5.7 million people will be uninsured in 2016 because 24 States have not expanded Medicaid. Most of those states are Republican-controlled, including the larger states like Texas and Florida.

Health care costs are growing at the slowest level on record, said the White House. Real per capita health care spending is estimated to have grown at the lowest rate on record for any three-year period and less than one-third the long-term historical average stretching back to 1960.

CBO projects the deficit will shrink more and premiums will be lower than expected. The ACA will reduce the deficit by $1.7 trillion over two decades, and, just this week; CBO concluded that lower-than-expected Marketplace premiums and other recent developments would cut $104 billion from our deficit over the next ten years.

Medicare spending growth is down: Medicare per capita spending is growing at historically low rates. This week, for the fifth straight year, the CBO reduced its projections for Medicare spending over the next 10 years – this time by $106 billion. CBO projects that Medicare and Medicaid costs in 2020 will be $180 billion below its 2010 estimates.

The White House also touted the security of health insurance being provided to middle class families. Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions – including up to 17 million children – no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.

Other points from the White House fact sheet:

Another 71 million Americans with private insurance have gained coverage for at least one free preventive health care service such as mammograms, birth control, or immunizations in 2011 and 2012.

In 2013, 37 million people with Medicare received at least one preventive service at no out of pocket cost.

Approximately 60 million Americans have gained expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or federal parity protections.

Since the health care law was enacted, almost 8 million seniors have saved nearly $10 billion on prescription drugs as the health care law closes Medicare’s "donut hole."

105 million Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach a lifetime limit, radically reducing the number of bankruptcies due to medical expenses.

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Sources:

White House Press Conference transcripts

White House Fact Sheet: Affordable Care Act

Talking Points Memo - Obamacare Tears Down Goalposts: 8 Million Sign-Ups

ACAsignups - BOOM! There it is: Pres. Obama announces 8M Exchange QHPs

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