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Obama: Health Care Is Here To Stay

Lizzie Pereira |
September 26, 2013 | 11:24 a.m. PDT

Executive Producer

(Screenshot, PBS Newshour)
(Screenshot, PBS Newshour)
In a speech delivered at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland Thursday, President Obama assured thousands of students that his new health care law is “here to stay,” despite the heated debate in Congress. 

Health insurance marketplaces are set to open on Tuesday after being passed into law back in 2010 under the Affordable Care Act. 

In an attempt to explain how the process will work, Obama compared the new online enrollment system to buying a TV on Amazon or comparing plane ticket prices on Kayak.

Although he said there will be “glitches” as the law unfolds, he asserted that it will ultimately benefit the millions of Americans who previously could not afford health insurance. 

“In the wealthiest nation on earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick,” he said. 

Obama deemed that health insurance should be considered a “right” for all Americans, not a privilege that can be obtained solely by those who can afford it.  Citing a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, he noted that the average American will have 53 plans to choose from and premium costs that are significantly lower than expected for 95 percent of uninsured Americans. 

In addition to explaining his health care law, Obama also defended it. He addressed Republican critics, saying that they “have just spun themselves up over the issue… The closer we’ve gotten to this date, the more irresponsible people opposed to this law have become.”

Obama dismissed the “noise” that has been coming from Washington, insinuating Sen. Ted Cruz’s 21-hour anti-Obamacare speech. And despite the intense debate, he will not negotiate any delays or changes. 

At the conclusion of his nearly one hour-long speech, Obama urged students to spread the word.

“Tell your friends, tell your classmates. We need to spread the word. Go to the Web site. See what the questions are. See what the choices are. Make up your mind,” he said.

Obama’s address marks one of a series of speeches that he will make before Tuesday. 

Reach producer Lizzie Pereira here



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