News / USA

    President Obama Defends His Health Care Law Against Critics

    President Barack Obama speaks about the federal health care law, at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Oct. 30, 2013.
    President Barack Obama speaks about the federal health care law, at historic Faneuil Hall in Boston, Oct. 30, 2013.
    Cindy Saine
    President Barack Obama traveled to Boston, Massachusetts, Wednesday to promote his signature health care law, amid widespread criticism of the government’s troubled launch of its health care website. Health insurance coverage has become a contentious political issue in the United States, and the president chose Boston for his speech in order to make a statement.  

    Health care was a major issue in the 2012 presidential campaign, when Obama defeated former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.   

    Obama chose to speak at the same venue Wednesday where then-governor Romney announced Massachusetts’ law mandating that everyone have health care insurance in 2006.  

    The president said that back then, Democrats and Republicans came together to win universal health care for everyone in the state. He highlighted the program’s success, and called for some Republican governors across the country to stop trying to derail his health care plan.

    “If they put as much energy into making this law work as they do in attacking the law, Americans would be better off,” he said.

    When he ran for president, Romney opposed a national mandate for health care insurance, while Obama used the Massachusetts plan as a model for his reform.

    Some Republicans are criticizing Obama for repeatedly saying during the 2012 campaign that Americans who like their health insurance can keep it. Under the new law, some individuals have seen their existing policies terminated by insurance companies. Obama said some insurers who had been offering bad plans cancelled those plans, and that people can buy better plans now online.

    The president said the Massachusetts plan got off to a slow start, just as the Affordable Care Act has, but that it has proven to be a real success.

    Earlier Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared before a congressional panel and, for the first time, said she is sorry for the miserable experience many have had trying to sign up for health insurance on the government website.

    “You deserve better. I apologize. I am accountable to you for fixing these problems and I am committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site,” she said.

    U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the failures of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 30, 2013.U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the failures of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 30, 2013.
    x
    U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the failures of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 30, 2013.
    U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the failures of the Affordable Care Act enrollment website on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 30, 2013.
    House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, a Republican, said ahead of the health care launch that Sebelius and her colleagues repeatedly assured lawmakers that the program was ready for the public.

    "But something happened along the way, either those officials did not know how bad the system was, or they did not disclose it. And sadly, here we are not five weeks into enrollment, and the news seems to get worse every day," said Upton.

    Sebelius pledged that the government website will be running smoothly by the end of November, and she noted that Americans have until the end of March next year to sign up before they face penalties for not having health insurance under the law. She would not say how many people have signed up for the plan to date.

    You May Like

    How Aleppo Rebels Plan to Withstand Assad's Siege

    Rebels in Aleppo are laying plans to withstand a siege by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in likelihood the regime cuts a final main supply line running west of city

    Probe Targeting China's Statistic Head Sparks Concern

    Economists now asking what prompted government to launch an investigation only months after Wang Baoan had been vetted for crucial job

    HRW: Both Sides in Ukraine Conflict Targeted, Used Schools

    Rights group documents how both sides in Ukraine conflict carried out attacks on schools and used them for military purposes

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growthi
    X
    February 10, 2016 5:54 AM
    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Civil Rights Pioneer Remembers Struggle for Voting Rights

    February is Black History Month in the United States. The annual, month-long national observance pays tribute to important people and events that shaped the history of African Americans. VOA's Chris Simkins reports how one man fought against discrimination to help millions of blacks obtain the right to vote
    Video

    Video Jordanian Theater Group Stages Anti-Terrorism Message

    The lure of the self-styled “Islamic State” has many parents worried about their children who may be susceptible to the organization’s online propaganda. Dozens of Muslim communities in the Middle East are fighting back -- giving young adults alternatives to violence. One group in Jordan is using dramatic expression a send a family message. Mideast Broadcasting Network correspondent Haider Al Abdali shared this report with VOA. It’s narrated by Bronwyn Benito
    Video

    Video Migrant Crisis Fuels Debate Over Britain’s Future in EU

    The migrant crisis in Europe is fueling the debate in Britain ahead of a referendum on staying in the European Union that may be held this year. Prime Minister David Cameron warns that leaving the EU could lead to thousands more migrants arriving in the country. Meanwhile, tension is rising in Calais, France, where thousands of migrants are living in squalid camps. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Valentine's Day Stinks for Lebanese Clowns

    This weekend, on Valentine's Day in Lebanon, love is not the only thing in the air. More than half a year after the country's trash crisis began, the stink of uncollected garbage remains on the streets. Step forward "Clown Me In," a group of clowns who use their skills for activism. Before the most romantic day of the year the clowns have released their unusual take on love in Lebanon -- in a bid to keep the pressure up and get the trash off the streets. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Families Flee Aleppo for Kurdish Regions in Syria

    Not all who flee the fighting in Aleppo are trying to cross the border into Turkey. A VOA reporter caught up with several families heading for Kurdish-held areas of northern Syria.
    Video

    Video Rocky Year Ahead for Nigeria Amid Oil Price Crash

    The global fall in the price of oil has rattled the economies of many petroleum exporters, and Africa’s oil king Nigeria is no exception. As Chris Stein reports from Lagos, analysts are predicting a rough year ahead for the continent’s top producer of crude.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.