President Obama on Saturday offered one of his strongest defenses to date of his signature domestic achievement, lambasting Republican critics of his health care law as obstructionists who are playing politics with the well-being and economic security of millions of Americans.
In blunt terms, Mr. Obama used his weekly address to describe health insurance as a “right” and distinguished states that have embraced his law against those that have not.
He said the Affordable Care Act is already helping young adults stay on their parents’ health plans and offering free preventative care.
“But there’s also a group of Republicans in Congress working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they’ll either shut down the health care law, or, if they don’t get their way, they’ll shut down the government,” he said.
“Think about that,” he added. “They’re actually having a debate between hurting Americans who will no longer be denied affordable care just because they’ve been sick — and harming the economy and millions of Americans in the process. And many Republicans are more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it’ll hurt the country.”
His defense of the law comes less than two months before state-by-state insurance markets, or “exchanges,” start to enroll Americans without employer-based insurance who may buy coverage with the help of government subsidies.
Mr. Obama is attempting to counteract critics who say the law’s mandates amount to an unprecedented intrusion on Americans personal health care decisions and could cause premiums to soar, as it requires insurers to cover more services and people with pre-existing conditions.