(WASHINGTON) — Kicking off a public push to sell the benefits of “Obamacare” to the American people, President Obama on Thursday touted how his signature health care bill is saving Americans money and slammed Republicans who are “rooting for this law to fail.”
“Health care costs have slowed drastically in a lot of areas since we’ve passed the Affordable Care Act,” the president explained at a White House ceremony.
More than three years after signing the reforms into law, the president urged Republicans “tying to make political hay out of this thing” to give up their fight to repeal the bill.
“Despite all the evidence that the law is working the way it was supposed to for middle-class Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted — for nearly the 40th time — to dismantle it. We’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and there’s a lot of work that Congress needs to do… And yet, instead we’re refighting these old battles,” he said, chuckling in disbelief.
“Sometimes I just try to figure out why. Maybe they think it’s good politics. But part of our job here is not to always think about politics. Part of our job here is to sometimes think about getting work done on behalf of the American people, on behalf of the middle class and those who are striving to get into the middle class,” he said to applause.
Surrounded by Americans who are benefiting from the legislation, the president highlighted the $500 million in rebates that insurance companies are sending out to roughly 8.5 million Americans this summer as evidence that the bill is helping to put money back in Americans’ pockets.
“Every dollar counts. It makes a difference,” Obama argued. “And I’m curious — what do opponents of this law think the folks here today should do with the money they were reimbursed? Should they send it back to the insurance companies? Do they think that was a bad idea to make sure that insurance companies are being held accountable? I know that’s not what these folks think.”
The rebate is a penalty to companies that spent too much on overhead, violating the requirement that they spend at least 80 percent of premiums on medical care.
Admitting the uphill battle he faces in swaying public opinion of the Affordable Care Act, the president explained “I bet if you took a poll, most folks wouldn’t know when that check comes in that this was because of Obamacare that they got this extra money in their pockets. But that’s what’s happening.”
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Eric Bradner, Dana Bash and MJ Lee, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Eric Bradner, CNN