When President Obama speaks to friendly crowds, especially crowds of students, there is usually one point in the speech where someone in the crowd shouts out “I love you!”. The president answers with “I love you back!”.
Yesterday he was speaking to a crowd at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland and the speech started with that exchange. His main topic was the Affordable Care Act, gearing up for the next phase on January 1, 2014 where millions of Americans will be covered under new insurance policies purchased on exchanges. The sign-up period for the new coverage starts next Tuesday, October 1 and runs through March 31, 2014. The Health Insurance Marketplace will be open for business here: Healthcare.gov.
The president’s speech (51 minutes and 32 seconds … and worth every second):
(Full transcript below the fold)
The president said to expect glitches. Lots of people say to expect glitches … it is a big program, it is a new program, and it is, unfortunately one that the administration has had to tweak on its own since the Republican House of Representatives has been unwilling to make any improvements to it. From Bloomberg News: Don’t be alarmed by Obamacare failures:
If things don’t run smoothly from the get-go, it won’t mean that this piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has failed. Three months will remain before coverage from insurance plans sold on the exchanges even kicks in. And there will be many months and years beyond that to smooth the wrinkles. Obamacare supporters often point to how much ironing out Medicare Part D, the prescription drug program, needed when it came into effect in 2006. Even Medicare and Medicaid have been tweaked more than 20 times since they were enacted in 1965.
President Obama made a point of mentioning that the “Republicans’ biggest fear at this point is not that the Affordable Care Act will fail. What they’re worried about is it’s going to succeed“. Indeed.
Here’s what the president said we can expect:
… Medicare and Social Security faced the same kind of criticism. Before Medicare came into law, one Republican warned that “one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.” That was Ronald Reagan. And eventually, Ronald Reagan came around to Medicare and thought it was pretty good, and actually helped make it better.
So that’s what’s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act. And once it’s working really well, I guarantee you they will not call it Obamacare. (Laughter and applause.)
Here is a prediction for you: A few years from now, when people are using this to get coverage and everybody is feeling pretty good about all the choices and competition that they’ve got, there are going to be a whole bunch of folks who say, yes, I always thought this provision was excellent. I voted for that thing. You watch.
Oh, and we can also expect this … from President Obama: “I love you back”. The Affordable Care Act, dedicated to his mother who died while fighting insurance companies and worrying about paying the bills, is about caring … and it is one of the things he does best.
(Links to the White House Web Site on the Affordable Care Act follow)