By Sam Baker and Justin Sink - 08/21/13 05:49 PM EDT
President Obama will hold a conference call Wednesday with state officials implementing the centerpiece of his signature healthcare law, the White House said.
Obama and senior administration officials are planning a teleconference with the managers of state-based insurance exchanges — new marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act where consumers can compare and purchase healthcare plans.
Obama will also "hear about the progress they have made in setting up the new marketplaces where Americans will be able to shop for quality, affordable coverage that will be there for them when they need it most," Earnest said.
Sixteen states and Washington, D.C. are setting up their own exchanges. The federal government is doing all or part of the work in the remaining states.
Obama has previously singled out the states running their own exchanges for praise.
"In states that are working hard to make sure this law delivers for their people, what we’re seeing is that consumers are getting a hint of how much money they’re potentially going to save because of this law," he said in a White House address last month.
Several of the states that embraced control over their own marketplaces have seen the most promising early results. Premiums in several state-based exchanges — including California, Maryland and New York — have come in below expectations, and those states are working aggressively to promote enrollment.
The teleconference with state exchange leaders comes amid stories that say some companies and organizations are reducing workers' hours or insurance coverage ahead of implementation of the law's individual mandate and insurance exchanges next year.
But the White House on Wednesday touted news reports showing a decline in healthcare premium growth as evidence that the law was working.
"This is evidence that the Affordable Care Act is having a positive impact on small businesses, their bottom line, and, of course, their employees who will have access to healthcare coverage," Earnest said.