President: Republicans ‘were wrong’ about Obamacare

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By CNN Staff

(CNN) — President Barack Obama called on his fellow Democrats to “forcefully defend and be proud” of the fact that millions of people have signed up for health care insurance through the federal marketplaces, and faulted Republicans who are still angling to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“I don’t think we should apologize for it. I don’t think we should be defensive about it. I think there is a strong, good, right story to tell,” Obama said Thursday during a rare appearance at the daily White House news conference.

Obama announced that the number of people who have signed up for private insurance through the marketplaces has grown to 8 million. About 35% of those people are under the age of 35, he added. That number is slightly less than the 40% that the White House and independent experts originally forecast for the system to work successfully, but it’s higher than numbers released earlier this year.

Obama said the law is “now covering more people at less cost than most would have predicted just a few months ago” and criticized its opponents.

“I find it strange that the Republican position on this law is still stuck in the same place that it has always been. They still can’t bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working,” the President said.

“They said nobody would sign up; they were wrong about that,” he continued. “They said it would be unaffordable for the country; they were wrong about that.

The President said the political bickering will still likely continue through at least the November midterm elections, “because it seems as if this is the primary agenda item in the Republican political platform.”

His comments marked a strong contrast to the tone he took in November as his administration was trying to smooth over the rocky rollout of the federal website, as well as a broken promise that anyone who liked their insurance would be able to keep it under the new law.

Vulnerable Democrats have since tried to place distance between themselves and the health care law, an outcome Obama predicted last fall.

“There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they’re running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin,” the President said at a press briefing.

The President added that he felt “deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them.”

But after the administration ended up exceeding its original goal of 7 million sign-ups by the end of March, the President and the White House have not been shy in celebrating a victory.

“This thing is working,” Obama said Thursday.

“If Republicans want to spend all their time talking about repealing a law that’s working, that’s their business,” he added.

He also chided states that have refused to accept Medicaid expansion, a provision in the health care law that would give states federal dollars to increase the amount of people who could qualify for the program. Nearly half the states-all with Republican governors-have declined to accept the program, while a few states are still considering it.

Obama argued governors and state legislatures have chosen not to expand Medicaid “for no other reason than political spite.”

CNN’s Dana Ford contributed to this report.

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  • republican h8er

    stop oppressing me you stupid republicans., I want the same benefits that you have cause I work just as hard. I’m tired of the govt. giving bailouts to the rich and not doing anything for the poor. Obama is saving this country. I just hope we don’t get another whacked out republican in office after Obama and tear it all down. Republicans say they love this country- only if your rich and white.

    • Bob

      If your looking for other people to support you vote for the Democrats. If welfare assistance is your game vote for the Democrats.

      If you really want to work to support your family, and expect every other able bodied man to do the same thing vote for the Repulicans. They believe in personal responsiblity.

  • Ted

    Amazing. 8 million people out of 330 million americans have signed up. that is 2.4% in statistical terms, nobody HAS signed up Mr. President? What do you define as working? and how many millions LOST their insurance due to Obamacare? how many of those 2.4% are getting a partial or free ride at my expense? (about 80 percent of them)

  • Bob

    The Democrats should name one thing the Federal Government has ever run as efficiently as the private sector. And no, our retreat in Viet Nam doesn’t count.

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