President Obama defends Affordable Care Act at Boston event

President Barack Obama defended the rollout of the affordable care act at an event in Boston on Wednesday with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

obama-header2Massachusetts has a similar state health-care system as what is being implemented at the federal level. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, was the architect of the system, signed it into law in 2006.

“By every reasonable measure, it has been a success for us here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Patrick said. “How do we know? Virtually, every resident in the commonwealth is insured today. More private companies offer insurance to their employees than ever before.  Over 90 percent of our residents have a primary care physician.  Preventive care is up and health disparities are down. Most important of all, on a whole range of measures, we are healthier both physically and mentally.”

Obama successfully saved the federal reform from Republicans who had made its repeal the centerpiece of their failed shutdown strategy, but it has been imploding from the inside with the continued failures of the HealthCare.gov website to operate to any degree of efficiency.

“This marketplace is open now. Insurance companies are competing for that business. The deal is good; the prices are low. But, let’s face it, we’ve had a problem. The website hasn’t worked the way it’s supposed to over these last couple of weeks. And as a consequence, a lot of people haven’t had a chance to see just how good the prices for quality health insurance through these marketplaces really are,” Obama said.

“Now, ultimately, this website, HealthCare.gov, will be the easiest way to shop for and buy these new plans, because you can see all these plans right next to each other and compare prices and see what kind of coverage it provides. But, look, there’s no denying it, right now, the website is too slow, too many people have gotten stuck. And I am not happy about it,” Obama said. “And neither are a lot of Americans who need health care, and they’re trying to figure out how they can sign up as quickly as possible. So there’s no excuse for it. And I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP. We are working overtime to improve it every day. Every day.”

Obama said Wednesday that we’re “going to get these problems resolved.”

“Now, in the meantime, you can still apply for coverage over the phone, or by mail, or in person, because those plans are waiting and you’re still able to get the kind of affordable, reliable health insurance that’s been out of reach for too many people for too long,” Obama said.

“So, I am old enough to remember when there was not such a thing as a website. I know that’s shocking to people.  But the point is I’m confident these marketplaces will work, because Massachusetts has shown that the model works and we know what’s being offered by these insurers. We know it’s going to work,” Obama said.