President Obama said Wednesday that there are lines he “can’t cross” as Republicans again set out to dismantle his signature healthcare law.
“There are certainly some lines I’m going to draw,” he said in his first remarks since the midterm elections, in which every Republican winner opposed the law.
While he said he would be open to “responsible changes” to the law, he did not provide examples of changes he would support and said he was waiting to hear the priorities of the new Congress.
Obama said he also wouldn’t allow Congress to strike down the law’s individual mandate. He said that piece of the law is crucial to ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions could be guaranteed coverage.
“You’ve got to make sure that people can’t game the system and just wait until they get sick and try to buy health insurance,” he said.
He offered some hope to opponents of the medical device tax, which is another GOP priority. Obama declined to say whether he would force the tax to stay in the law, promising to “take a look comprehensively at the ideas they present.”
He also touted the progress that has been made under the law, including millions more who gained insurance and millions of dollars saved.
“We are really proud of the work that’s been done,” he said. “But there’s no doubt that there’s areas we can improve it.”
When asked about the enrollment period that begins Nov. 15, Obama took a lighter tone as he reassured that it would be smoother than last year's.
“We’re really making sure that the website works super well,” he said. “We’re double and triple-checking."