POTUS entered the room at 11:26 a.m. and pool was inside for roughly 33 minutes.
POTUS thanked the participants for sharing their stories about "the very, very failed and failing Obamacare law."
Several times POTUS complained about news media coverage of the debate. "The press is making Obamacare look so good suddenly. I'm watching the news. It looks so good. ... First of all, it covers very few people and it's imploding. And '17 will be the worst year."
POTUS cast the coverage as nostalgia. "It's a little bit like President Obama. When he left, people liked him. When he was here, people didn't like him so much. That's the way life goes. That's human nature. The fact is, Obamacare is a disaster."
The best political play, POTUS said, would to let the law collapse on its own over the coming year – "because it's going to blow itself off the map. But that's the wrong thing to do for the country. It's the wrong thing to do for our citizens."
POTUS said his administration and "a lot of people in the Senate and a lot of people in the House are committed to repealing and replacing this disastrous law with a health care plan that lowers costs, expands choice and ensures access for everyone. You represent the millions of Americans who have seen their Obamacare premiums increase by double-digit and even triple-digits ..."
POTUS said the House bill would provide "far" more choices at lower costs. "Americans should pick the plan they want. Now they'll be able to pick the plan. They'll be able pick the doctor they want.
They'll be able to do a lot of things that the other plan was supposed to give and it never gave. ..."
"You're not going to have one-size-fits-all. Instead, we're going to be working to unleash the power of the private marketplace to let insurers come in and compete for your business and you'll see rates go down, down, down and you'll see plans go up, up, up. You'll have a lot of choices. You'll have plans that nobody is even thinking of today."
Seated across the table in the Roosevelt Room was VPOTUS. At one head of the table was HHS Secretary Tom Price; at the other. Gary Cohn, director of the White House's National Economic Council.
The rest of the table was filled out by individuals (see list below) invited to tell their stories.
I'll recap stories in a subsequent report.
The following is from the White House:
On background: Americans have voiced their concerns over Obamacare year after year. The President will meet with victims of Obamacare to hear their stories and discuss how Obamacare is failing them.
PARTICIPANTS (to be reported once meeting starts)
Secretary of Health and Human Services Thomas Price, M.D.
Mr. Elias Seife, Florida
Mrs. Carrie Couey, Colorado
Dr. Manny Sethi, Tennessee
Mr. Greg Knox, Ohio
Ms. Brittany Ivey, Georgia
Ms. Gina Sell, Wisconsin
Ms. Kim Sertich, Arizona
Dr. Robin Armstrong, Texas
Mr. Joel Brown, Tennessee
Mr. Stan Summers, Utah
Mr. Louis Brown, Virginia