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President warns of 'misinformation' during ObamaCare enrollment

President warns of 'misinformation' during ObamaCare enrollment
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President Obama on Wednesday urged volunteers helping to sign up people for ObamaCare coverage to combat “misinformation” spread by opponents of the law.

Obama is trying to raise awareness for his signature healthcare law amid lowered expectations for the number of people seeking to sign up for insurance coverage.

The president suggested the raucous political debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act has scared off millions of uninsured Americans from purchasing coverage under the law’s exchanges. 

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“They’ve been fed a lot of misinformation, and this has become, unfortunately, this political issue that it should never have been,” he said during a conference call with enrollment volunteers and assistants. “And so that's, in a lot of circumstances, scared them off.”

Obama said six in 10 people are unaware they can seek financial assistance to pay for their insurance premiums. 

“We’re anticipating we're not going to have the same amount of national media attention we had in the past, so we've got to be a little more creative and we've got to talk about the most important thing that those that are still eligible for insurance, and that is affordability,” the president added. 

Obama is becoming personally involved in trying to boost the number of people covered under ObamaCare as its third enrollment season begins. 

The president on Thursday will do five local radio interviews in markets including Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta.

“It will be an opportunity for him to educate the public about these [health insurance] options,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday. 

The White House push comes as a number of Republican candidates won state and local elections this week on pledges to take aim at ObamaCare. 

Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin (R) has threatened to shutter his state’s ObamaCare exchange and undo the state’s Medicaid expansion.

Earnest on Wednesday pointed to recent comments from Bevin softening his stance on rolling back Medicaid expansion.

“This is an indication of something you've heard me say on many occasions, which is that vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act in some cases has been used as an effective political strategy that's not a terribly effective governing strategy,” he said.

The administration last month announced a surprisingly low enrollment target; its goal is to have 10 million people signed up for coverage in 2016, which would be an improvement of less than a million over the number of people already enrolled. 

The goal of 10 million signs-ups is significantly lower than what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted in June, when it estimated 20 million people would enroll next year.

Around 33 million remained without health insurance at the end of 2014, just over 10 percent of the U.S. population, according to Census Bureau data. 

The White House says the enrollment targets are not a cause for concern.

Earnest said that 250,000 people applied for coverage during the first 48 hours of open enrollment, consistent with last year’s pace. But that figure does not lay out the number of people who have purchased a plan.