Obama aims to get support for health care law

U.S. President Obama speaks about home ownership at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, ArizonaWASHINGTON – American President Barack Obama will attempt

to rally support for his healthcare law and stem a wave of bad

publicity over his flagship domestic achievement.

He will be joined soon by Americans who have benefited from

the Affordable Care Act, according to the White House.

The new healthcare website, which sells medical insurance, is now

working at acceptable levels after its disastrous launch, says

the administration.

The act aims to provide health coverage to some 15 per cent of

American citizens who lack it.

Today Obama will seek to remind Americans that under his health

programme, insurers can no longer deny coverage to those with

pre-existing conditions, and young people can now stay on their

parents’ coverage until age 26.

He will discuss the intensive efforts to repair the healthcare.gov

website, which has been a flop since it went online on October 1.

The White House is also due to hold a youth summit tomorrow,

in the latest attempt to promote the law among the young and healthy, a

demographic crucial to the strategy of reducing overall healthcare costs.

It is part of a multi-pronged effort by the administration to counter

the Republican argument that the act known on both sides of the

political divide as Obamacare is “a train wreck”.

The law’s problems have sent Mr Obama’s job approval ratings

plunging and threaten to damage fellow Democrats in next year’s

congressional elections.

Elsewhere in Washington DC today, the White House’s chief of

staff told a public policy forum that more than one million new visitors

had logged on to healthcare.gov yesterday.

Denis McDonough said the website’s new queuing system, used

in times of high traffic, worked “pretty well”.

“No matter what, we’re going to see this thing through,”

McDonough said.

He did not provide updated figures for how many people had signed

up for insurance plans.

The administration aims to enrol seven million people in insurance

plans before the end of March, when all Americans are required to have

coverage or pay a fine.

But problems reportedly persist. Insurers says they are receiving

enrolment forms that have errors or are duplicated, while others go

missing altogether.

“So far we’ve been able to deal with these issues because there’s

been relatively low volume,” Daniel Durham, of industry lobby group

America’s Health Insurance Plans, told Reuters news agency.

“But now that the floodgates are open . . . . we’re going to see a lot

more volume and health plans just don’t have the personnel to do all

[the technical fixes] manually.”

Today House Majority Leader Eric Cantor accused the administration

of trying to cover up the law’s problems.

“What else are they hiding?” he told a news conference.

“While the White House wants to claim that healthcare.gov is

now working, we know that Obamacare is still plagued with problems

and every American deserves relief from it.” (BBC)

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