Obama to GOP governors: Stop playing politics with healthcare

President Obama urged Republican governors to move forward and allow the Affordable Care Act expansion of Medicaid in their states, using an appearance in Dallas to make the case that the governors should stop playing politics. 

While Obama didn't call out Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) by name for not participating in the expansion, he asked states like Texas to take advantage of the program and not deny people healthcare because of ideology.

ADVERTISEMENT
"There's no state that actually needs this more than Texas," Obama said, speaking briefly at local synagogue in the Lone Star state, before moving on to a fundraiser. 

White House aides say they chose to go to Dallas for the event because it's one of the top 10 cities with uninsured Americans. 

When the Affordable Care Act originally passed, states were required to expand Medicaid coverage for all individuals making below the federal poverty level or within 138 percent of it.

But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government couldn't force states to expand the joint program, enabling some Republican governors, including Perry, to reject the growth of Medicaid in their states.

In his remarks, Obama expressed frustration over the rejection of the coverage by some Republican governors.

"One of the things that sometimes gets me a little frustrated, although I understand it because I'm in politics, is folks who are complaining about how the website is not working and why isn't Obama fixing this ... and yet they're leaving a million people right now without health insurance," Obama said. "There's not a lot of logic to that, but that's okay."

Obama also spent about half of the 13-minute speech easing concerns about the persistent problems on the HealthCare.gov website. 

"Nothing drives me more crazy than the fact that, right now, there's great insurance to be had out there, choice and competition where people can save money for a better product, except too many folks haven't been able to get to the website," he said. "Now this is like having a really good product in a store, and the cash registers don't work; there are not enough parking spots; and nobody can get through the door, so we are working overtime to get things fixed." 

Obama said the website is "already better" than it was at the beginning of October, and by the end of this month, is going to be working "the way its supposed to."