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

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    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.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    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 '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 New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    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 Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    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 Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    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.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.