POLITICS: PennAve

President embraces role as 'salesman' for Obamacare

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health and Human Services,OMB,Health Care,PennAve,Kathleen Sebelius,Meghashyam Mali

President Obama in his weekly address Saturday said he was proud to be a “salesman” for Obamacare despite criticism over the glitch-filled rollout of the law’s insurance exchanges.

“Some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman. And that’s okay,” said Obama. “I’d still be out there championing this law even if the website were perfect.”

Obama’s comments came after another week of withering criticism over the administration’s rollout of a new website designed to enroll consumers in the health care law’s public insurance exchanges.

Obama said at an event Monday that he is frustrated with the website and vowed it would be fixed, but also defended the health care law as a “good deal” for the public.

Opponents of the health care law criticized Obama, saying he was forced to resell the public on supporting his signature legislative achievement.

Obama on Saturday said he welcomed the role as salesman-in-chief and touted the law’s benefits.

“I’ll never stop fighting to help more hardworking Americans know the economic security of health care,” he said.

The president also mocked Republicans’ criticisms of the website and concern for consumers, saying they had “spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those same people access to health insurance.”

Obama again argued, as he has all week, that the health care law is more than just a website.

“We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a website. We did it to free millions of American families from the awful fear that one illness or injury — to yourself or your child — might cost you everything you’d worked so hard to build,” he said.

“We have already delivered on part of that promise, and we will not rest until the work is done,” Obama added.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeffrey Zients, who has been tapped to repair Healthcare.gov, said Friday that the issues would be resolved and the website functioning “smoothly” before December.

Republicans have seized on the glitch-filled rollout of the website and say it highlights the unworkability of Obama’s health care law.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is slated to testify before Congress next week.

In the GOP weekly address, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., vowed to investigate the botched rollout and press for a delay of the law’s individual mandate.

“Despite hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars invested, the website still does not work for most,” said Upton.

“At a time when we can do everything from ordering a pizza, flowers, or airline tickets, or banking and paying bills, they expect the same reliable service from healthcare.gov — and it’s still not ready for primetime.”

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