Help health care law work for Americans, Obama asks supporters

President Obama defended the Affordable Care Act and pledged to see it successfully implemented during a speech to a gathering of volunteers for Organizing for Action, the grassroots offshoot of his powerful network of campaign supporters.

"I have run my last political campaign," Mr. Obama said Monday in Washington, D.C. But, he added, "I've got one more campaign in me. The campaign to make sure this law works for every single person in America. And I'm asking for your help."

Though the law's rollout has been plagued by the glitch-prone, the online marketplace for consumers to purchase insurance. Mr. Obama said that shouldn't overshadow the parts of the law that are already helping people. He pointed to Americans with pre-existing conditions who are able to purchase affordable insurance for the first time, young consumers who can stay on their parents' plan until they are 26, and the newfound coverage of free preventative care.

Still, he acknowledged the difficulties ahead. "Lets face it," he joked. "A lot of us didn't realize that passing the law was the easy part," he joked.

He continues to express disappointment with the website, which isundergoing a "tech surge" to get it working at close to full capacity by the end of November. "I'm not happy about it because I know that people need health care and this is the right place to get it. I know you're not happy about it because as long as the website's not working the way it should it makes it harder for you to help them get coverage. That's unacceptable," he said.

But he cautioned that there are still other ways to apply for coverage and plenty of time left during the six-month enrollment period for people to sign up. "Everybody who wants to get insurance through the open marketplace, they'll be able to get it. It's not like this is a one-day sale," he said.

Mr. Obama also revisited his claimthat those who liked their insurance plans would be able to keep it, a claim that has been under fire in the last week for not representing the full picture. "What we said was you could keep [your plan] if it hasn't changed since the law was passed," he said, noting that plans bought before the law was passed in 2010 were grandfathered in. "If the insurance company changes it...they've got to change it to a higher standard," Mr. Obama said.

He argued that allowing insurance companies to continue to offer what the government deemed to be plans with insufficient coverage would have broken the promise he made to ensure no American is one illness away from financial ruin.

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for