President Barack Obama Tuesday tried to rally Democratic leaders and base voters behind his Obamacare network, and slashed at his critics for supposedly trying to block people from getting health care.
“The debate over repealing this law is over, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama insisted during a late-afternoon April 1 press event in the Rose Garden, that was attended by Democratic legislators who cheered his announcement that the network had reached 7.1 million signups.
Obama coupled those reassurances for worried Democratic legislators with campaign-style compliments for the Democratic supporters that he needs to help elect Democrats in November.
He also smeared GOP legislators and voters who want a decentralized, free-market health-care system — rather than his centralized, government-managed Obamacare system — as opposed to health care for Americans.
“I’ve got to admit, I don’t get it,” he said. “Why are folks working so hard for people not to have health insurance? Why are they so mad about the idea of folks having health insurance?” he said as he offered anecdotes about three people in a country of 310 million who have gained from his reorganization of the nation’s health sector.
In fact, nearly all Republicans want people to be able to buy their own health insurance, usually with government aid.
But Obama needs to energize his base voters enough to overcome their sour mood about the stalled economy, especially because many Democrat-leaning swing-voters are expected to stay home.
“Many of the tall tales that have been told about this law have been debunked. There are still no death panels. Armageddon has not arrived,” Obama said from his Rose Garden podium.
Obama also suggested to his supporters that people oppose the law because they don’t like him personally. “Regardless of your politics or your feelings about me, or your feelings about this law, [increasing health-care coverage is] something that’s good for our economy, and it’s good for our country,” he said.
The mood in the Rose Garden was good among the Democrats because a late rush of signups had boosted the Obamacare network’s subscribers up to 7.1 million by March 31.
Many Democrats are worried that the law will allow the GOP to win a Senate majority in November.
But Obama and his fellow Democrats made sure not to highlight the problems.
The law is more unpopular among likely GOP voters than it is popular among likely Democratic voters.
Many of the claimed 7.1 million subscribers are expected to drop out before making their first payment.
Several million of the subscribers are likely people whose 2013 insurance plans were canceled by Obama’s stringent 2010 regulations, which violated his much-repeated promise that Americans could keep their health-care plans.
Obama also did not mention that most of the law’s most unpopular features have been delayed past the November election, often with out any legal authority.
Those unpopular features include new regulations on company-provided health care, cancellation of plans offered by small companies to millions of Americans, and the public announcement of price spikes for 2015.