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POLITICS: White House

Obama plans health care, fundraising pitches in California

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Politics,White House,Politics Digest,Barack Obama,California,Health Care,Campaign Finance,Campaigns,Susan Crabtree

Beset by multiple controversies in Washington, President Obama will try to turn the nation’s attention to his 2010 health care overhaul during a Friday trip to California where he will encourage all Americans who are currently uninsured, and specifically Latinos in the state, to enroll in government-subsidized insurance exchanges.

Flanked by representatives from Latino media outlets Impremedia, Univision and Telemundo, Mr. Obama will deliver remarks in San Jose, Calif. highlighting the plan’s provision of coverage for 10.2 million uninsured Latinos across the country, White House officials said Thursday.

California, the largest state with the biggest insurance market in the country and currently six million uninsured residents, will play a critical role in determining the success or failure of the president’s signature health care law and his biggest legislative achievement to date.

The president is specifically targeting young, healthier people across the country in his push to promote enrollment in insurance exchanges because they are critical to stabilize his plan to provide insurance for those with pre-existing conditions and the elderly. Nearly one-third of uninsured young people live in three states: California, Texas and Florida, according to the White House.

Ahead of the president’s remarks, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Obama’s efforts to bolster the health care law before its fall rollout are completely misplaced.

Once Obama’s health care law comes online, experts predict premiums will sky rocket for young men in their twenties and thirties who are already having a tough time finding a job, he said.

“Young men and women are already having a rough enough go of it in the Obama economy,” he said. “Those who make it through college face a highly uncertain future once they get out there in the ‘real world,’ as their parents like to call it.”

After weeks of revelations about the IRS targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny, McConnell said the last thing government should be doing is giving the agency more responsibilities, as well as power to intrude on sensitive personal information.

“I mean, think about it,” he said. “A deeply unpopular law being administered by an agency that’s so betrayed the public trust. The IRS is in charge of administering some of the most important elements of Obamacare. And, for many Americans, that’s going to mean submitting to probing questions about their health insurance.”

Later Friday, Obama will head to Los Angeles for a Democratic National Committee fundraiser then travel to Southern California’s desert resorts for private meetings Friday evening and Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Sunnylands, a sprawling estate in Rancho Mirage built by billionaire philanthropists Walter and Leonore Annenberg.

Obama spent late Thursday evening at a fundraiser in Palo Alto, Calif., home to Stanford University.

Speaking to roughly 75 people gathered at a cottage-style home, he argued that Democrats aren’t the reason for gridlock in Washington.

The party, he claimed, isn’t particularly left-wing right now.

“If you talk to us – it turns out we’re pretty common-sense folks. We believe in the free market … a light tough when it comes to regulations,” he said, blaming Republicans for electing people who believe that “compromise is a dirty word.”

He exhorted the crowd to help him keep the Senate in Democratic control before adding, “Having a Democratic House wouldn’t be bad, either.”

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Susan Crabtree

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner