KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

In Campaign-Style Speech, Obama Defends The Health Law

In his Thursday appearance at a suburban Maryland community college, President Barack Obama dismissed as "crazy" the arguments being advanced by the overhaul's opponents and accused some GOP lawmakers of attempting "blackmail" to stop its implementation.

The New York Times: Obama Scorns G.O.P. 'Blackmail' On Health Law
President Obama mounted a passionate, campaign-style defense of his health care program on Thursday, just days before its main elements take effect, mocking opponents for "crazy" arguments and accusing them of trying to "blackmail a president" to stop the law (Baker, 9/26).

Bloomberg: Obama Says He Won’t Back Down In Fight Over Health Care Law
President Barack Obama said he won’t back down against Republicans trying to block his health care law and said threats to tie their effort to raising the nation’s debt ceiling amount to "blackmail." With five days until enrollment begins, Obama said the Republicans in Congress are becoming increasingly "irresponsible" in opposing the law (Runnigen, 9/26).

Politico: Obama Accuses GOP Of 'Blackmail'
President Barack Obama accused Republicans of trying to "blackmail a president" by threatening to shut down the government or default on the nation’s debt if he doesn’t agree to block implementation of Obamacare. “We’re not going to submit to this type of total irresponsibility,” Obama said in remarks at a community college just outside Washington. "I will not negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America" (Allen, 9/26).

The Washington Post: Obama's Line In The Sand Is On The Debt Ceiling
On Thursday, Obama categorically rejected the Republican demand that he roll back the Affordable Care Act in order to keep the government open and also refused to entertain negotiations on raising the debt ceiling. Both positions, a centerpiece of his strategy this fall, are striking for a president who has made his willingness to meet the opposition "more than halfway" a defining characteristic of his political persona. Obama gave in on a key feature of his health-care plan in 2010 — a public insurance option — and engaged in a lengthy negotiation over the debt ceiling in 2011. But in his remarks Thursday, Obama said Republicans were trying "to blackmail" him over the health-care law and pledged that he would have none of it (Goldfarb, 9/26).

Los Angeles Times: Obama: Healthcare As Easy As Online Shopping
President Obama says his Affordable Care Act is about to make health insurance cheaper than the average cellphone bill and as easy to get as "a plane ticket on Kayak." In a pitch to community college students in suburban Maryland on Thursday morning, Obama compared the soon-to-launch healthcare "marketplaces" to Internet travel websites that let users compare prices and details with a few keystrokes (Parsons and Hennessey, 9/26).

The Associated Press: Obama Touts Ease Of Health Care Sites
President Barack Obama says his Affordable Care Act is about to make health insurance cheaper than the average cellphone bill and as easy to get as “a plane ticket on Kayak.” In a pitch to community college students in suburban Maryland on Thursday morning, Obama compared the soon-to-launch online health care marketplaces to Internet travel websites that let users compare prices and details with a few keystrokes (9/26).

The Washington Post: Obama Defends Health-Care Law, Calling Health Insurance 'A Right'
President Obama offered a ringing defense of his signature health-care law Thursday amid what he called increasingly "irresponsible" Republican tactics to undermine it, ruling out changes as long as he is in office. Traveling to Prince George’s Community College just outside the Capital Beltway, Obama made a moral argument, as well as an economic one, for legislation that will help define his domestic record for history. He said health insurance is now a "right" in the United States, not a benefit available only to those who can afford it (Wilson and Wiggins, 9/26).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Ridicules 'Crazy' Republican Doomsday Predictions Of Health Care Law, Pitches Enrollment
With just five days to go before Americans can begin signing up for health care under his signature law, President Barack Obama on Thursday ridiculed Republican opponents for "crazy" doomsday predictions of the impact and forecast that even those who didn’t vote for him are going to enroll. With polls showing many Americans still skeptical of the law known as "Obamacare," the president went back to the basics of explaining how nearly 50 million uninsured Americans will be able to buy coverage in new government-run exchanges while mocking Republicans for trying to block its implementation. "The closer we get, the more desperate they get," Obama argued (9/26).

Reuters: As Critical Phase Nears, Obama Stumps For Healthcare Law
President Barack Obama visits a local college on Thursday to promote his signature healthcare program as it nears a critical enrollment phase, even as the law faces stiff political opposition and a wary public. In remarks at Prince George's Community College in suburban Maryland, Obama will seek to focus attention on the sign-up period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, popularly called "Obamacare." Starting on Tuesday, Americans who lack insurance will have six months to shop online for health coverage (Felsenthal, 9/27).

Fox News: Obama Claims 'No Widespread Evidence' Health Law Hurts Jobs, Amid Cutbacks
President Obama, in a heavily partisan speech defending his signature health care law, claimed Thursday "there's no widespread evidence" it is hurting jobs -- despite widespread reports that businesses are cutting back worker hours in order to avoid extra costs tied to the law. The charge that Obamacare is driving Americans into part-time work is one of the central claims that opponents make in arguing for the law to be defunded or delayed. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, reiterated the claim during his 21-hour floor speech against ObamaCare this week (9/26).

The Fiscal Times: Obama's Approval Sinks As He Fights For Health Plan
President Obama, suffering his lowest public approval in two years, defended his even more unpopular health care law during a speech Thursday morning in suburban Maryland. Locked in political mortal combat with Republicans over the future of his signature Affordable Care Act and the government’s AAA credit rating, Obama delivered a detailed defense of a program designed to extend insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans next year (Planin, 9/26).

Los Angeles Times: Healthcare Law: White House Shifts From Selling To Explaining
In the years since the Affordable Care Act became law, the measure known as Obamacare has been debated, excoriated, legally challenged, upheld and then debated some more. Now, with its centerpiece element opening for business in five days, the White House is focusing on a task that many critics of the administration say is long overdue: explaining it. Explaining was Priority No. 1 for the Obama administration during much of the week, with everyone from the commander in chief to the rank-and-file press staff setting out details for reporters (Parsons and Hennessey, 9/26).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Puts Obama Legacy On The Line
With the enrollment date approaching and support for the health law lagging in the polls, the administration is starting a sustained effort to make the case for its benefits, deploying the president, first lady, vice president, cabinet officials and an array of celebrities. On Thursday, Mr. Obama delivered an emphatic defense of the law, delving into the details of insurance exchanges and accusing Republicans in Congress of trying to "blackmail" him with threats of default or shutting down the government (McCain Nelson, 9/26).

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