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POLITICS: PennAve

President says Obamacare plans 'good or better' than outside coverage

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President Obama, in a thirty-minute interview with WebMD broadcast Friday, urged consumers to sign up for Obamacare, telling them they could find good, affordable plans on the law's insurance exchanges.

“What you’ll find is the private insurance that is available on healthcare.gov is going to be as good or better as what you could get outside of the Affordable Care Act,” said Obama. “And when you add the tax credits and subsidies you may qualify for its going to be a really good deal for a lot of people.

Obama said that he received letters from individuals every day about how they had saved money by finding a plan on healthcare.gov.

“Check it out for yourself. Go to healthcare.gov,” Obama said. “The website’s working. See what options are available for you.”

Obama’s interview comes with only weeks left before a March 31 deadline for consumers to get insurance or pay a penalty.

The administration hoped to sign up 7 million consumers during the open enrollment period, but with 4.2 million sign-ups so far, they are well behind their target. The exchanges have also failed to reach the 40-percent threshold of young and healthy consumers many say are necessary to keep the law afloat. Only a quarter of Obamacare enrollees are in the 18-to-34 demographic.

Obama's interview comes days after he sat down for an interview on the mock online comedy talk show “Between Two Ferns” and as the administration enlists a number of celebrities to promote the health care law.

In his WebMD interview, Obama took a more serious turn, answering questions submitted to the website by the public.

His interview comes amid public confusion and uncertainty over new Obamacare regulations, with polls showing that support for the law has dropped after the rocky rollout of the healthcare.gov website.

Obama fielded questions about whether the law would raise costs for consumers, and insisted that the law would better protect the public.

“What its really designed to do is deal with the 40 million people or so who don’t have health insurance at all or people who are in the individual marketplace and aren’t getting it through their employer and so don’t have a lot of leverage and may not be getting a good deal through their health insurance companies,” the president said.

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