“You’ve heard a lot” about Obamacare, President Obama said in his last pitch for the Affordable Care Act on Thursday in Miami, Florida. He was obviously hinting at all the bad press his signature policy has received in the past seven years.
The president asked the audience why they think he and his administration fought for health reform in the first place? “It was because of you,” he said.
“It was because of the stories I was hearing all over the country. People who had been forced to fight a broken health care system.”
The president gave a few personal stories about patients who have supposedly been helped by the Affordable Care Act. Those patients, he said, concluded that Obamacare has provided them the “freedom and security to choose how I live my life.” That’s what it’s all about, he said.
Obama then listed several positive results of his controversial health care plan. Thanks to his policy, he said, customers now get free preventive care offered by insurance companies, free checkups for women and free mammograms. The Affordable Care Act, he noted, prevents companies from “discriminating against you if you’re a woman.”
He continued that young people are now able to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and health care inflation has slowed.
The president did admit premiums were still rising, (just look at Guy's latest post about the looming premium hikes in 2017) but insisted that they’ve gone up “the slowest in 50 years since Obamacare was passed.”
The majority of Americans do not get health care through the ACA, Obama noted. About 80 percent get health care on the job or through Medicaid or Medicare.
“For most Americans it has not affected your coverage except to make it better,” he said.
“You’re benefiting from it” even if you don’t know it’s Obamacare,” he said. “Thanks Obama.”
To quiet the criticism and improve Obamacare, the president said repealing it would not work. Instead, he suggested that states expand Medicaid and that we use the money we saved to provide more tax credits for middle income families and young adults to buy insurance. Finally, Obama suggested we add a "public plan fallback" to give people more options in places where there are not enough insurers to compete. He also encouraged "innovation" by the states to find a way to make these plans more affordable.
Obama concluded that it’s only because he’s a Democratic president that negative headlines continue to swirl around his plan.
“The Affordable Care Act has done what it was designed to do,” he said. “So why is there still such a fuss?”
Obamacare is so successful that Hillary Clinton will change it if she becomes president, and Donald Trump pledged to get rid of it altogether.