The President's Weekly Address
Hi, everybody. A few weeks ago, we launched an important new part of the Affordable Care Act. It's called the Marketplace. And for Americans without health insurance and Americans who buy insurance on their own because they can't get it at work, it's a very big deal.
If you're one of those people, the Affordable Care Act makes you part of a big group plan for the first time. The Marketplace is where you can apply and shop for affordable new health insurance choices. It gathers insurers under one system to compete for your business. And that choice and competition have actually helped bring prices down.
Ultimately, the easiest way to buy insurance in this marketplace will be a new web site, healthcare.gov. But as you may have heard, the site isn't working the way it's supposed to yet. It's frustrating for all of us who have worked so hard to make sure everyone who needs it gets health care. And it's especially frustrating for the Americans who have been trying to get covered. The site has been visited more than 20 million times so far. Nearly 700,000 people have applied for coverage already. And that proves just how much demand there is for these new, quality, affordable health care choices. And that's why, in the coming weeks, we are going to get it working as smoothly as it's supposed to. We've got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address these problems, every single day.
But even as we improve the web site, remember that the web site isn't the only way to apply for coverage under these new plans. We've updated healthcare.gov to offer more information about enrolling over the phone, by mail, or in person with a specially trained navigator who can help answer your questions. Just call 1-800-318-2596 or visit localhelp.healthcare.gov. And don't worry: These plans will not sell out. We're only a few weeks into a 6-month open enrollment period, and everyone who wants insurance through the Marketplace will get it.
Now, some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman. And that's okay. I'd still be out there championing this law even if the web site were perfect. I'll never stop fighting to help more hard-working Americans know the economic security of health care. That's something we should all want.
That's why it's also interesting to see Republicans in Congress expressing so much concern that people are having trouble buying health insurance through the new web site, especially considering they've spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those same people access to health insurance that they just shut down the Government and threatened default over it.
As I've said many times before, I'm willing to work with anyone, on any idea, who's actually willing to make this law perform better. But it's well past the time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hard-working, middle class families are rooting for its success.
The Affordable Care Act gives people who have been stuck with sky-high premiums because of preexisting conditions the chance to get affordable insurance for the first time. This law means that women can finally buy coverage that doesn't charge them higher premiums than men for the same care.
And everyone who already has health insurance—whether through your employer, Medicare, or Medicaid—will keep the benefits and protections this law already has put in place. Three million more young adults have health insurance on their parents' plans because of the Affordable Care Act. More than 6 million people on Medicare have saved an average of a thousand dollars on their prescription medicine because of the Affordable Care Act.
Last year, more than 8 million Americans received half a billion dollars in refunds from their insurers because of the Affordable Care Act. And for tens of millions of women, preventive care like mammograms and birth control are free because of the Affordable Care Act. That's all part of this law, and it's here to stay.
We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a web site. We did it to free millions of American families from the awful fear that one illness or injury—to yourself or your child—might cost you everything you'd worked so hard to build. We did it to cement the principle that in this country, the security of health care is not a privilege for a fortunate few, but a right for every one of us to enjoy. We've already delivered on part of that promise, and we will not rest until the work is done.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 2:15 p.m. on October 24 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on October 26. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on October 25, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on October 26.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/305172