President Obama told supporters Monday night that he needed their help battling against “a lot of misinformation” spread by political opponents about his signature healthcare legislation.
Speaking on a virtual conference call hosted by Organizing for Action, the political group born from his reelection campaign, the president admitted that problems with the ObamaCare website had put a damper on early enrollment efforts.
“The good news is it’s getting better every single week,” Obama said. “I am confident that by the end of this month, it is going to be functioning for the vast majority of folks.”
The president conceded that the botched rollout “created and fed a lot of this misinformation” about the law. He said that some individuals would still need to be enrolled by phone or in person, even after repairs to the website were complete. And he accused Republicans of complicating efforts to get the program off the ground.
“Obviously, we haven’t been getting a lot of cooperation from the other party,” he said.
Obama encouraged supporters to talk face-to-face with neighbors, friends, and family members about the law. He also suggested that proponents of ObamaCare should use holiday parties and family gatherings to encourage their loved ones to purchase insurance.
“We have to remember the conversations we’re having around the dinner table,” Obama said.
He also thanked his backers for their support during the trying early weeks of the ObamaCare rollout.
“Despite all the noise out there, despite all the criticism, despite all the setbacks that we’ve experienced during this process, I’ve never lost faith,” he said, adding that his supporters were “what keeps me going.”
Despite the president’s assurances, his tone throughout his 12 minutes of remarks was noticeably subdued — an issue amplified by a scratchy phone connection that made it, at times, difficult to hear the president.
Many reporters struggled initially to join the call because of buffering issues with the website, an ironic twist considering that a purpose of the teleconference was to downplay problems with HealthCare.gov.
Still, OFA Executive Director Jon Carson announced that more than 200,000 individuals had accessed the teleconference.
The president also took a brief detour from discussing his signature health care law to denounce a move by Senate Republicans to filibuster the nomination of Judge Robert Wilkins’s nomination to the D.C. Court of Appeals.
Obama blasted the move as “obstructionism” and “completely unprecedented,” while hinting that the fight "may get more attention" in the coming weeks.
That could indicate that Democrats are steeling for another battle over Senate filibuster rules.
Following a similar filibuster of Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) to oversee the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Vice President Biden said it was “worth considering” the so-called nuclear option. Democrats could change the upper chamber’s rules so that only a simple majority was necessary to confirm nominees.