By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck - 09/24/13 11:30 PM EDT
President Obama urged the uninsured, including young, healthy adults, to see for themselves whether they can afford ObamaCare's new coverage options. At an event with former President Clinton, Obama reiterated that he's less interested in fighting a PR war over the healthcare law than in getting it off the ground once the first enrollment window opens next week.
"Rather than try to disabuse people of every single bit of misinformation that's been out there, what we're saying is, 'Just look for yourself,' " Obama said.
The law remains unpopular, and the White House and its allies don't believe a political sales pitch alone will reverse public opinion. Obama recounted an anecdote about a Kentucky man who said he intended to sign up for coverage through his state's exchange because it was better than ObamaCare — not realizing it was, in fact ObamaCare. And that's just fine, the president said.
"I don't have pride of authorship on this, I just want the thing to work," Obama said.
The event with Clinton came one week before the first chance to enroll in ObamaCare's new coverage options, and in the midst of a six-month push to promote enrollment — or at least an open mind — especially among young, healthy adults.
Cruz's last stand: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) took to the Senate floor on Tuesday saying he would talk as long as he could about the problems with ObamaCare and GOP leaders' decision not to pursue Cruz's path toward a government shutdown. Cruz's effort to push the government toward a shutdown over ObamaCare was dealt a fatal blow the day before, when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he would not filibuster a bill to defund ObamaCare, as Cruz wanted. And GOP senators were quickly lining up behind McConnell on Tuesday.
Stay tuned to Healthwatch for the latest updates on Cruz's speech.
Is Cruz's speech a filibuster? Read an analysis from The Hill's Floor Action blog.
Walking a fine line: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-Ky.) is facing sharp attacks from conservatives for opposing Cruz's
defunding push. But the Kentucky senator, who is facing an aggressive
primary challenge in 2014, is betting the attacks won't gain traction
among Republican voters because they're couched in complicated
legislative maneuvering that could be difficult for outside-the-Beltway
voters to follow.
The political sparring centers on McConnell's decision Monday to oppose a Cruz-backed attempt to hold up a vote on House legislation defunding President Obama's signature healthcare law. Read more at The Hill's Ballot Box.
New promotional efforts: Campaigns to educate the public about ObamaCare are popping up all over. Money management service Mint is reportedly pointing users toward the exchanges, and TurboTax sent a message to subscribers on Tuesday with information about what the law offers and requires. The LIVESTRONG Foundation also announced that it is partnering with the advocacy group Young Invincibles to convince young people to enroll.
Extend the deadline: Republican senators are asking federal health officials to extend the deadline for compliance with Stage 2 of the Electronic Health Records (EHRs) Meaningful Use Incentive Program. In a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services, the lawmakers argued that the current timetable isn't feasible for all providers, that it may widen the "digital divide" for small and rural healthcare practices and that it may "stifle innovation."
"if the goal is to improve care by achieving broad and meaningful utilization of EHRs, providing sufficient time to ensure a safe, orderly transition through Stage 2 is critical," the senators wrote.
'Two midnights': More than 100 lawmakers urged Medicare for a six-month delay in the so-called "two midnights" regulation on hospital stays for seniors. In a letter, the members said the policy could increase healthcare costs for seniors, and asked regulators to review it. The requirement mandates that inpatient admissions last at least two midnights to qualify for reimbursement from Medicare, and is set to take effect on Oct. 1. The American Hospital Association has pushed for a similar delay.
Ready for fixes: An ObamaCare official said Tuesday that her agency is ready to deal with any glitches that arise next week as people begin to enroll in the healthcare law's insurance exchanges. The acknowledgment from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner points to the likelihood that not every marketplace will operate smoothly from day one.
Tavenner argued that it will take time for the system to work perfectly.
"Everything from the website to the call centers to counselors ... everyone is going to be learning this as we go forward," she said. "What we are seeing is more transparency, more data, more interest in entering [health insurance] markets and individuals asking a lot of questions. To me, that is what it is all about."
Healthwatch has more from her remarks to a health insurance conference in Washington, D.C.
'Open to suggestions': Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz writes in a new book that her party should be "open to suggestions" for improving ObamaCare.
"That engagement certainly should include past critics the law," the Florida Democrat writes in For the Next Generation, to be released Oct. 15. The Washington Examiner has more.
Democratic women senators will hold a press conference alongside new mothers, pregnant women and healthcare advocates about GOP efforts to kill ObamaCare.
The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control will hold a hearing on dangerous synthetic drugs.
The Senate Special Committee on Aging will hold a hearing on the changing retirement landscape for baby boomers.
America's Health Insurance Plans will launch its 2013 Medicare conference.
State by state
Walker believes Obama could delay health overhaul
Florida seeks more federal poverty care money for hospitals
Medicaid applications face delay in health exchanges
Young invincible caught in crossfire over ObamaCare cost
Here's why Obama won't delay the individual mandate
How will exchanges change options for kids' health coverage?
What you might have missed on Healthwatch
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GOP bill would force federal health officials to sign up for ObamaCare
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Federal employee health premiums to rise 3.7 percent
GOP senator calls Obama a 'last-ditch warm-up act' for Bill Clinton
McConnell: Dems will get a 'do over' on ObamaCare
Reid: Public opposes GOP's 'senseless' plan to shut down the government
WSJ: Cruz, Lee led GOP to defeat
Axelrod: GOP follows Cruz like lemmings
Conservatives see no threat in showdown over shutdown
Cruz filibuster could leave House little time for response to Senate
Administration pushes ObamaCare
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