• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
3m 17s

Obamacare “is working,” time to move past political fight, Obama says

By Stephanie Condon / CBS News 3:00 PM April 17, 2014

About 8 million Americans signed up for private insurance on the new Obamacare marketplaces, President Obama announced Thursday.

“This thing is working,” Mr. Obama said from the White House briefing room, scolding the Republican Party for keeping up its call to repeal the law. “I know every American isn’t going to agree with this law, but it’s well past time to move on as a country and focus our energy on the issues that people are most concerned about.”

The new enrollment data comes about two weeks after the six-month open enrollment period on the Obamacare marketplaces came to a close. The president pointed to other data points suggesting the law is working. For instance, 35 percent of those who signed up for private Obamacare plans are under 35 years old, the administration says. Health care experts have said that the marketplaces would need younger, healthier adults to make up about 40 percent of the marketplace in order for it to stay robust.

Mr. Obama also pointed to a recent report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office suggesting that its costs will be lower than expected. Furthermore, he noted, since the law was passed in 2010, health care spending has risen more slowly than at any other time in the past 50 years. The real Medicare cost per person has nearly stopped growing, he said, while the life of the Medicare trust fund has been extended by 10 years.

Mr. Obama said he found it “strange” that Republicans “still can’t bring themselves to admit the Affordable Care Act is working.”

“I recognize that their party is going through, you know, the stages of grief, right?” he said. “Anger and denial and all that stuff. And we’re not at acceptance yet. But at some point, my assumption is, is that there will be an interest to figure out, how do we make this work in the best way possible?”

He specifically chided Republican state leaders who have chosen not to expand Medicaid “for no other reason than political spite.”

In 2012, the Supreme Court let states opt out of the Obamacare policy of expanding Medicaid (a joint federal-state program) to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. So far, 26 states and the District of Columbia have decided to expand the program. Data shows that there are about 5 million people who fall in the “Medicaid gap” — their states have not expanded Medicaid, but they can’t afford private insurance on the Obamacare marketplace. Those 5 million, consequently, have been left without insurance.

“That’s wrong. It should stop,” Mr. Obama said Thursday. “Those folks should be able to get health insurance like everybody else.”

New data examining the rates of Americans without insurance has illustrated the clear disparity between red states and blue states.

The president on Thursday also reiterated that military options are not on the table in Ukraine.

“What we have to do is to create an environment in which irregular forces disarm, that the seizing of buildings cease, that a national dialogue by Ukrainians — not by Russians, not by Americans, or anybody else, but by Ukrainians – takes place, they move forward with reforms that meet the interests of the various groups within Ukraine, they move forward with elections, and they start getting their economic house in order,” he said.

While the U.S. and other nations belief Russia has had a part in the chaos there, he said “there is an opportunity for Russia to take a different approach.”

“We are encouraging them to do so. In the meantime, we’re going to prepare additional responses, should Russia fail to take a different course,” Mr. Obama said. “We’ve already had an impact on their economy. That is well-documented. It could get significantly worse.”

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Latest Stories

  • News

    2 survive plane crash between villages in Southwest Alaska

    by Associated Press on Jan 17, 7:57

    Two people in a small airplane survived a crash between southwest Alaska villages. Alaska State Troopers say a Coast Guard helicopter spotted the downed aircraft early Monday night. Investigators say the airplane left Dillingham on a flight to Port Heiden but landed in Pilot Point because of bad weather. The airplane took off again from […]

  • News

    Anchorage drivers weigh in on proposed red light camera ballot initiative

    by Daniella Rivera on Jan 17, 7:46

    What can be done about red light runners in Anchorage? Vice Chairman of the Anchorage Assembly Dick Traini says it’s a question he frequently hears from constituents. That’s why he and Anchorage Assembly Chair Elvi Gray-Jackson have submitted an ordinance that would let voters decide whether to allow the municipality to use cameras to ticket […]

  • Politics

    Interior nominee Zinke to be questioned on public lands, coal

    by Associated Press on Jan 17, 6:54

    Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke says he would never sell, give away or transfer public lands, an important stance in the West where access to hunting and fishing is considered sacrosanct. But Zinke’s commitment to public lands has come into question recently and is likely to be a point of contention Tuesday as a Senate committee […]

  • News

    Alaska’s population climbing despite net migration loss

    by Associated Press on Jan 17, 6:41

    Alaska’s population is climbing despite the fact that more people are moving away from the state than moving in. KTOO-FM reports that according to a Department of Labor report released Thursday, Alaska’s population has grown slightly due to births, though net migration remains down. Net migration – the number of people moving two Alaska minus […]

  • Esteban Santiago ordered held without bond

    by Associated Press on Jan 17, 6:37

    Last updated at 7:50 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 17 The man suspected of fatally shooting five people and wounding six others at a Florida airport has been ordered held without bond. During a Tuesday morning hearing in Fort Lauderdale, an FBI agent confirmed that the 9 mm gun used in the Jan. 6 shooting rampage […]

  • Sports

    Ryne Olson wins Copper Basin 300

    by Dave Goldman on Jan 16, 21:09

    If you follow trends, this was a no-brainer. In the past two years, Ryne Olson has taken third and second place at the Copper Basin 300 sled dog race. Like a blue chip, which grows slowly and consistently over time, this one found its highest point yet. Now you can call her a Copper Basin 300 champion. […]

  • Politics

    ‘It’s time to pull together’: Alaskans plan to attend Women’s March on Washington

    by Eric Ruble on Jan 16, 19:36

    The final preparations are underway for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. on Friday. However, a few hundred thousand people are expected to participate in a separate event happening the next day in the nation’s capital. The purpose of the Women’s March on Washington – according to its organizers – is to send a […]

  • News

    Red Cross volunteers install free smoke detectors for MLK Day

    by Shannon Ballard on Jan 16, 19:09

    Martin Luther King Jr. Day not only honors the life and legacy of the legendary civil rights leader, it also offers opportunities to translate his words into action. On Monday, that sense of volunteerism and community was felt in the South Park Estates trailer park off Arctic Boulevard. A group of about a dozen people with […]