President Obama Speaks on Health Care in America

The President spoke about health care in America on Tuesday, June 9, 2015.

(Transcript: Remarks by the President at the Catholic Hospital Association Conference)

From President Obama:

On a day in early September of 2009, I received the following letter from Senator Edward Kennedy. He’d written in May of that year, shortly after he learned that his illness was terminal. He asked that it be delivered to me upon his death.

It is a letter about the cause of his career — what he called “that great unfinished business of our society” — health care reform.

“What we face,” he writes, “is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

Senator Kennedy never stopped asking what he could do for his country. Today, tens of millions of Americans are better for it.

And while Teddy didn’t live to see his life’s work signed into law, more than five years after its passage, the spirit of his words ring true. This is, fundamentally, about the character of our country. Doing right by one another.

It’s who we are.

Tomorrow, I will deliver remarks about health care in America. Get a history of where we’ve been, and let me know you’ll be watching.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

From the White House: Health Care in America

News about the latest attacks on the president’s health care initiatives are below …

News Stories:
Obama: Supreme Court shouldn’t have heard Obamacare challenge

President Barack Obama expressed deep frustration with the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, questioning why justices even took up a case that imperils his signature health insurance reform plan.

The high court is set to issue a decision on the case, known as King v. Burwell, by the end of the month. A ruling against the government would mean that 6.4 million people in the 34 states relying on the federal Healthcare.gov website would be at risk of losing subsidies that make their insurance affordable.

“This should be an easy case. Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up,” Obama said at a news conference after the G-7 summit in Krun, Germany. “Since we’re going to get a ruling pretty quick, I think it’s important to assume that the Supreme Court’s going to do what legal scholars would expect them to do.”

Obama repeated the administration’s contention that there’s no contingency plan or fix to keep insurance markets from going into a tailspin, predicting that the justices would decide in his favor. And in any case, he added, Congress could fix the ambiguous phrasing of the health law “with a one-sentence provision.”

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GOP Swiftly Rejects Obama’s ‘One-Sentence Fix’ to Obamacare if Supreme Court Voids Subsidies

“Let’s be clear: if the Supreme Court rules against the Administration, Congress will not pass a so called ‘one-sentence’ fake fix,” Wyoming Senator John Barrasso, who is leading Republican efforts to craft a contingency plan, said in a statement.[…]

In his statement, Barrasso accused Obama of “bullying the Supreme Court” and said the Republican-led Congress is “prepared to help” Americans who may be harmed.

But is it? Republicans have struggled to coalesce around a contingency plan if the ruling goes their way.

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Senator Unveils New Obamacare Attack, Immediately Becomes A Laughingstock

Thune offered this assessment of who would be to blame if the Republican-controlled Supreme Court sides with the plaintiffs in King:

Senator John Thune @SenJohnThune
Six million people risk losing their health care subsidies, yet @POTUS continues to deny that Obamacare is bad for the American people.
2:19 PM – 8 Jun 2015

Almost immediately, Thune became an object of ridicule for this tweet. Huffington Post’s Sam Stein quoted the tweet and responded “this makes no sense.” The Week’s Ryan Cooper mocked it with an historic quote — “Stand and deliver, or I shall kill you, and then you will be a murderer!” The New York Daily News’s Josh Greenman wrote just one word: “Um.” The National Review’s Charles C.W. Cooke described Thune’s tweet in twice as many words: “So dishonest.” […]

Should the King plaintiffs prevail, it should be noted, the consequences will go far beyond the mockery Thune experienced. An estimated 9,800 Americans will die every year who otherwise would have lived if the Republican-appointed justices do what so many of Thune’s fellow Republicans have asked them to do.

How Not to Make the SCOTUS Case Against Obamacare, in One Tweet

“Six million people risk losing their health care subsidies, yet @POTUS continues to deny that Obamacare is bad for the American people.” – Senator John Thune

On its own terms, this was difficult or impossible to parse. The aforementioned six million people living in states that count on the federal exchange to sell plans were not at risk until lawsuits were filed to end the subsidies. If the loss of subsidies was bad for the American people, then how was that the fault of the administration, who argued against the plaintiffs and called the legal challenge dilatory? Thune’s Twitter timeline became a torrent of people wondering what he was talking about. Even conservatives started to ask if Thune realized how tightly he’d been wrapped around the axle.[…]

Republicans had worried that once Obamacare was real, too many people would be making use of the law (and attendant subsidies or Medicaid) [to] form a constituency against it. Even as polls have shown a persistent rejection of the law, the growing number of people who’ve purchased plan—some after their old plans were disrupted by the law—have become a problem. And Thune was punting on the responsibility for bailing those people out.

~
5 Questions Answered On The Legal Challenge To Obamacare Subsidies

2. What happens if the court rules against the Obama administration?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than 6 million people would lose their subsidies in the states where the federal government operates the health insurance exchanges.

An analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that subsidized enrollees would face an average effective premium increase of 287 percent if the court rules against the administration. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation).

Florida would have the most people lose subsidies (1.3 million), worth nearly $400 million, with Texas ranked second in both categories (832,000 residents losing $206 million per month), according to the state-by-state analysis.

Even people who weren’t getting subsidies could be indirectly affected by a Supreme Court ruling against the administration. That’s because the elimination of subsidies would very likely roil the insurance risk pool. Without the subsidies, many healthy people are likely to give up their coverage, and that would drive up costs for those continuing to buy insurance.

Individuals in state-run exchanges and the District of Columbia would keep their federal subsidies.

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The GOP has 5 plans to fix Obamacare if the Supreme Court blows it up. They’re all a mess.

The justices are about to decide the legality of Obamacare’s insurance subsidies, which currently help 6.4 million Americans pay for their health coverage. If the justices toss out the financial help, it’ll be a coup for Republicans who’ve tried repeatedly to kill the law in Congress and in the courts.

But it will also leave Republicans holding the bag on how to prevent chaos in the insurance market. If lawmakers do nothing — and with the level of gridlock in Washington, there’s a decent chance this happens — many experts say the consequences could be severe. Obamacare premiums would spike on average by 256 percent, leaving many enrollees unable to keep up with the bills. They could decide to pay the much higher prices, or drop their coverage.[…]

Republicans lawmakers have also come up with five alternatives plans to keep the dollars flowing. The question is whether they’ll do much good. Most of the plans would extend the availability of subsidies, while dismantling other parts of Obamacare. The result would likely be a world that looks much more like America before Obamacare — where fewer people are enrolled in coverage and are paying higher premiums.

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Poll: Majority want ObamaCare to survive court case

Two-thirds of people hope that ObamaCare subsidies will be upheld in court later this month, including nearly 50 percent of Republicans, according to a new poll.

A total of 61 percent of people said low-income Americans should be eligible for the subsidies regardless of what state they live in – a question at the center of the looming King v. Burwell case, according to the poll commissioned by the progressive group Americans United for Change.

A majority of people also said they hope Congress will take action if the court rules against the Obama administration. Just 28 percent of people said they’d be less likely to vote for their representative in Congress if he or she decided to fix the Affordable Care Act to preserve the subsidies.

  8 comments for “President Obama Speaks on Health Care in America

  1. JanF
    June 9, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Senator Kennedy:

    “What we face is above all a moral issue; that at stake are not just the details of policy, but fundamental principles of social justice and the character of our country.”

  2. JanF
    June 9, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Twitter stream:

    Nerdy Wonka ‏@NerdyWonka
    President Obama on the GOP: “There’s something deeply cynical about the constant partisan attempt to roll back progress.” #ACAWorks

    Nerdy Wonka ‏@NerdyWonka
    PBO: “When millions couldn’t afford healthcare, that’s not a better America. That’s not freedom. It’s not who we are..not what we’re about!”

    The White House ‏@WhiteHouse
    “We’ll never go back to a time when our citizens can be denied coverage because of a preexisting condition” —@POTUS #ACAWorks

  3. bubbanomics
    June 9, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    my hair feels as if it’s about to combust. Two “long shot” worries>>>
    (1) Obama’s got wind of a negative decision and is going on the offensive. 6 million lose out. This seems likely to me given the current court composition.
    (2) Obama’s attempting to influence the court. This seems a very unlikely (he’s pretty savvy) and extremely dangerous approach.
    What’s most likely is that Obama is trying to get people interested in the case and its potential impact. The electoral implications of the outcome make my head hurt.

    • JanF
      June 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm

      I had the same concerns but after listening to him, I think that he just wants to remind people of how wonderful the Affordable Care Act is and how it is now Part of the Fabric of America. Easy to forget if you are one of the 10 million people who now do not have daily worries about getting sick and losing your house.

      Every once in a while we need a reminder of the bad old days.

      • bubbanomics
        June 9, 2015 at 2:29 pm

        that’s my hope (and I think the maximum likelihood estimate) of his intent. I am also hoping the court stands with Burwell on this.

        • princesspat
          June 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm

          It’s all real personal for me. I will always think my brother might still be alive had he not been living in Rick Scott’s no medicaid for you Florida. And my son needs the ACA to keep living his life with the BCH he is facing. Fortunately we have an ok exchange in WA state, but all my kids need more affordable access to health care, not more uncertainty. And dental care needs to be included, and long term care, and how about a national short term disability program for the times when work, health and life collide. I know I’m dreaming with this congress and the current SCOTUS :(

  4. JanF
    June 9, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    @ThePlumLineGS translates Obama’s speech today “Our health care system is now Obamacare” http://wpo.st/Pt7L0
    “In his speech, Obama made a moral case for the goal of universal health care; an ideological case that government-sponsored health insurance enhances economic opportunity and mobility without setting back American freedom; and a substantive case that the Affordable Care Act is working better than expected”

  5. JanF
    June 10, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Congressional Democrats are proposing a bill to allow birth control to be sold over the counter in a way to help women should the birth control mandate in the ACA be stricken:

    Sen. Patty Murray introduced a measure on Tuesday that calls for birth control pills to be sold without a prescription. The bill, which echoes recommendations from the American Medical Association, is likely to increase political wrangling over the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurers cover the costs of FDA-approved contraceptives.

    Murray, D-Wash., and supporters including Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America, say the move is intended as a defense against congressional efforts to shut down the portion of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) that requires health insurance companies to cover one of 18 different forms of birth control without co-payments.

    Between corporations claiming religious exemptions and Republican lawmakers doing everything possible to limit women’s reproductive freedoms, even the right to birth control is under attack:

    In May, the Obama administration clarified the intention of the health care law, warning insurers that they have to cover all forms of birth control, without cost-sharing or other charges.

    The legislation proposed on Tuesday calls for both over-the-counter access to birth control pills and for insurance companies to cover the cost, since even generic versions can cost a few hundred dollars for a year’s supply without health insurance.

    It is hard to believe that it was only 50 years ago that birth control was illegal in some states. Imagine what it would be like if the forced birth crowd got their way.

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