President ramps up ObamaCare push

President Obama will travel to Maryland Thursday to tout the Affordable Care Act, days before the launch of new insurance exchanges that will allow those without health coverage to enroll.

The president will visit the Washington, D.C., suburb of Prince George's County for the event, according to White House regional communications director Keith Maley.

"Maryland has been a leader in implementing the benefits and protections of the Affordable Care Act, holding insurance companies accountable and ensuring consumers have the knowledge they need to choose the plan that best fits them," an administration official told The Baltimore Sun.

It will be the president's second major healthcare event this week, underscoring the administration's publicity blitz ahead of the open enrollment period. On Tuesday, Obama will appear at the Clinton Global Initiative with former President Bill Clinton to tout the benefits of the healthcare law.

The White House is eager to convince millions of Americans who are not offered health care through their jobs to sign up for coverage via the exchanges. White House press secretary Jay Carney said last week the administration would be undertaking "a ramped-up public education effort to reach Americans."

The president's efforts to spotlight the program come as Republicans in Congress are attempting to use upcoming deadlines on the federal budget and debt ceiling to delay or defund the law.

Last week, the House passed a bill that would keep the federal government open through December, provided that funding for ObamaCare was stripped. Senate Democrats and the White House have both said they would not accept that as a condition for a government funding bill.

The president's scheduled travel may also narrow the window for a possible meeting between Obama and congressional leaders on the looming financial issues. Last week, congressional aides said the White House had reached out to members of the congressional leadership in hopes of scheduling a conference before Oct. 1.

But the president is in New York City through Tuesday, will travel to Maryland Thursday and is hosting the Prime Minister of India at the White House Friday.

On Friday, the president called Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), although it appeared that little headway was made toward a budget deal. Obama used the call to reiterate to Boehner that he will not negotiate over an increase in the nation's debt ceiling, which could be needed by mid-October.