Speaking in Faneuil Hall, the same spot where then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R) signed the nation’s most sweeping attempt at health-care reform into law in 2006, President Barack Obama said that critics of the Affordable Care Act have been “grossly misleading” on the latest controversy involving the law’s rollout.
Obama addressed “the latest flurry in the news” — that some people are getting cancellation notices on their health insurance because of Obamacare. He defended a claim that he repeatedly made during the run-up to the Affordable Care Act’s passage — that if “you like your plan, you can keep it.”
That claim isn’t proving true, but Obama said he wasn’t lying when he made that promise. He blamed insurance companies for changing their policies and not complying with basic minimum requirements of the health-care law.
“One of the things health care reform was designed to do was to help not only the uninsured, but the underinsured,” Obama said.
House Speaker John Boehner released a statement, in turn, that accused Obama of being misleading.
“It’s beyond disappointing that, despite the evidence, the president continues to mislead the American people about his health care law,” Boehner said.
“The president promised that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. It wasn’t true when he said it years ago, and, as millions of Americans are finding out, it’s not true now. All across the country, cancellation notices are hitting mailboxes because of the train wreck that is the president’s health care law.”
Obama also promoted the success of “Romneycare” on a state level in Massachusetts, hailing it as a “model” for the nation that offers a preview into the Affordable Care Act’s benefits. He argued that the similarities between the two laws — including somewhat rocky rollouts for both — should inspire confidence that the disasters that have come with the Affordable Care Act’s launch would soon disappear.
He did acknowledge that the implementation of the health-care law has been less than smooth.
“There’s no denying it. The website is too slow. … And I’m not happy about it,” Obama said.
“I take full responsibility for making sure it works ASAP.”
Obama’s speech in Boston came a few hours after his top health-care official, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, faced a grilling from Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Sebelius apologized to the American people for the rollout of a dysfunctional website that has left many unable to purchase health insurance.
During Obama’s speech, he was interrupted twice by hecklers opposed to the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. He took it in stride.
“That is the wrong rally! We had the climate change rally back in the summer. This is the health care rally,” he joked.
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