President Obama criticized Republicans on Thursday for “the same old song and dance” on ObamaCare, vowing to “blow through” their criticisms to implement his signature healthcare law. [WATCH VIDEO]
Seeking to bolster his unpopular healthcare law in a speech from the White House, Obama contrasted positive headlines about the law's effects with Republicans' continued efforts to undermine the law and said his administration would plow ahead with full implementation.
Obama's speech came on the heels of two more votes in the GOP-led House — there have now been nearly 40 — to delay parts of the reform law.
The House voted to delay the law's individual mandate and its employer mandate — the latter of which the White House has already delayed. Dozens of House Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the employer mandate delay despite the threat of a White House veto, a sign of unease about the law.
“Now, I recognize that there are still a lot of folks — in this town, at least — who are rooting for this law to fail,” Obama said. “Some of them seem to think this law is about me. It's not.”
The administration's decision to delay the provision re-energized GOP critics, but Obama sought to downplay the implementation hurdles Thursday.
“As we implement, there are going to be glitches and there are going to be certain states that for political reasons are resisting implementation. And we're just steadily working through all that stuff,” he said.
Obama highlighted provisions of the healthcare law that are already in place, as well as early filings that show premiums for new insurance plans will cost less than expected.
State regulators in New York said Wednesday that policies sold through the law’s insurance exchange would cost about 50 percent less than currently available policies. Ten other states have also reported that rates next year will be lower than expected.
“Consumers are getting a hint of how much money they’re potentially going to save,” Obama said.
He also highlighted a well-publicized provision that limits how much insurers can spend on profit and administrative expenses. Companies that miss the threshold must pay rebates to their customers.
Insurers paid out 13 million rebates last year and will issue another 8 million this year, Obama said.
“I bet if you took a poll, most folks wouldn’t know, when that check comes in, that this was because of ObamaCare. ... But that’s what’s happening,” Obama said.
Indeed, polls show the public is deeply uninformed or misinformed about what the law does — hence the aggressive push from the White House to raise awareness ahead of Oct. 1, when the new insurance marketplaces will open for enrollment.
—This story was posted at 11:59 a.m. and updated at 1:12 p.m.