Obama rallies supporters Monday evening to save Obamacare

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama will ask his most ardent followers on Monday evening to help bail out his rapidly sinking Obamacare project.

The 8:15 p.m. online speech will be delivered to Obama’s Organizing for Action supporters, and Obama is expected to ask them to save the Obamacare program, which has eliminated health insurance plans of at least four million Americans.

Obamacare’s launch has been so politically painful that many Democratic legislators have threatened to abandon ship even before it becomes operational on Jan. 1.

Obama will also try to go on the political offensive by urging his followers to push for the Senate-passed, business-backed immigration reform bill.

Democrats say the bill is popular and will help Americans. But GOP leaders in the House have temporarily stalled it because of opposition from voters who are already worried about unemployment, outsourcing and automation.

If it becomes law, the bill would provide a work permit to one extra Democratic-leaning immigrant or guest-worker for every American who turns 18 during the next 10 years.

On Friday, Obama held an emergency Obamacare meeting with his allies in the health-benefit companies, including the CEOs of Aetna, Humana, CareFirst and Cigna Healthcare.

That meeting came one day after Obama tried to blame the companies, not his regulations, for the millions of policy cancellations. In a White House press conference, he announced he would not prosecute executives who violate the 2010 Obamacare law by selling popular, low-profit pre-Obamacare insurance policies during 2014.

Obamacare requires the low-cost plans be cancelled, and be replaced by higher-cost plans, which generate steady profits for companies that cooperate with the government.

So far, no company has announced that they want to sell the low-profit plans, and none have announced a reversal of the Obamacare-mandated cancellations.

The political pain caused by the cancellations is made worse by the inability of many people to buy the more expensive replacement policies via Obamacare website.

There’s growing doubt that the website will be fixed b Nov. 30, as Obama and his deputies have predicted.

White House officials didn’t provide a transcript of Obama’s Friday meeting with the executives, but did release a so-called “readout” of the meeting.

The readout did not include any mention of the president’s Thursday request, which was widely seen in Washington as a p.r. move to prevent Democratic legislators from voting against the Obamacare project.

So far, the PR move has been partly successful.

On Friday, only 39 Democratic legislators backed a successful GOP-drafted bill that would allow insurance companies to sell the low-profit policies until the end of 2014.

The GOP bill will be blocked by the Democratic-majority Senate.

In the Friday, meeting, “the President led a discussion with industry leaders about the best pathways for consumers to enroll in coverage,” said a vague White House readout.

“Administration officials are working closely with insurance companies on both consumer education as well as fixing the technical issues with HealthCare.gov so that consumers can obtain the coverage they need,” it stated.

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Neil Munro