President Obama held a press briefing at the White House on Thursday and revealed that the Affordable Care Act (ACH) had facilitated eight million customers for the insurance industry. Even though his opening statements dealt primarily with the success of his signature legislation, he also addressed the ongoing situation in Ukraine in his question and answer session.
In his monologue, the president cited the number of times the House of Representatives has voted to repeal the controversial law, and that they could have been voting on a jobs bill or immigration reforms instead. He stressed the fact that the Republican Party seems to be unable to help themselves in regards to their opposition to Obamacare and said, "They need to get over it."
When asked by Politico's Edward Isaac-Dovere whether he would advise Democrats to campaign on Obamacare this fall, the president, eventually said this: "I think Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact....we're helping because of something we did." He added that Republicans would have to defend their continued efforts to repeal the law and then quickly pivoted back to talking about the economy, which, he insisted, was the No. 1 priority for most Americans.
It is unclear why the Republican Party is determined to run against Obamacare in the 2014 mid-term elections, but according to Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus, this is a winnable strategy. President Obama wasted no words in blasting the Republican governors for their opposition in implementing Medicaid expansion in their states, and stressed they they are in fact denying 5 million Americans of much needed health coverage.
Obama said 35% of the sign-ups were under the age of 35, and that 28% of those who bought policies were in the crucial 18-to-34 age group, a lower number than insurers had hoped for but better than earlier reports. Obama also said premiums are anticipated to be 15% lower than expected.
These facts have not resonated with those in leadership in the Republican Party as is evidenced by a statement released by John Boehner's spokesman Brendan Buck. In his statement Buck said:
"The White House continues to obscure the full impact of Obamacare. Beyond refusing to disclose the number of people who've actually enrolled by paying premiums, the president ignores the havoc that this law has wreaked on private plans that people already had and liked," Buck said in a statement.
"Surveys have consistently shown that the overwhelming majority of those who signed up already had insurance. Had this law not led to millions of Americans receiving cancellation notices, many would not have had to sign up for this government-run program. What America really needs is a health care system that is more affordable, more accessible, and of the highest quality, and that’s what House Republicans are working toward."
What most Americans are really wondering is why the Republican Party insisted that their proposals be included in the ACH, and when appeased in their inclusion they unanimously voted against it. Most Democrats actually wanted a plan with a public option or straight-up single payer. The law as it exist today was seen as merely a stepping stone to the eventual Medicare for all.
Only time will tell who will eventually win this battle over whether America will join the other civilized nations by guaranteeing health care to its citizens, but until then we have to live with the constant tug-of-war. Many Americans, 52 per cent to be exact, thought this fight was settled in the 2012 presidential election. Here we are two years later and the Congress hasn't accomplished anything meaningful in helping the American people. When Boehner says that the American people want Obamacare repealed, you would have to conclude that the Speaker of the House of Representatives only listens to those citizens who live in those gerrymandered districts that made him the Speaker of the House in the first place.