In an online chat session Friday, President Obama was directly confronted by Americans adversely impacted by Obamacare.
The results weren’t pretty.
The Obama administration, known for its social media bona fides, touted a Google Plus “Hangout Road Trip” which would allow Americans across the country to ask Obama questions directly. The president faced several difficult questions about Obamacare’s less popular attributes.
“I cannot keep my plan, which I like,” Kentucky mom Rebecca Stewart told Obama, according to the Washington Examiner. “I’ve spent weeks with, days on the phone getting confidently delivered wrong answers, conflicting information, and it’s becoming quite obvious to me that a lot of agencies, almost every one I’ve talked to, is having a lot of trouble figuring out the new rules.”
Stewart’s 10-year-old son has a specialist physician and Stewart is having “a really panicked experience” finding replacement coverage that will include his doctor.
President Obama was quick to ease Stewart’s complaints in the online forum quickly. “What I’ll do first, right away,” Obama emphasized, “is make sure that somebody out of here, this White House, calls you directly. And I promise you not only will they be confident, but it will be the right answer.”
While Stewart will likely get White House attention for winning the president’s ear during the Hangout Road Trip, Obama’s advice for others searching for Obamacare answer was to call an exchange help line, “And hopefully, you’ll get a good answer,” he said.
When Stewart protested that she’d already called, moderators cut her off. (RELATED: An Obamacare supporter recounts his misadventures dealing with HealthCare.gov)
While Stewart was likely to get personal attention to help navigate the exchanges, others across the country have been less successful. Another listener pressed Obama on the employer mandate cutting his hours back to part-time.
Darnell Summers of Milwaukee earns $7.25 an hour as a fast-food worker and now works part-time only after the looming employer mandate will require larger companies to provide health insurance to all those working above 30 hours per work.
“We can’t survive,” Summers told Obama. “It’s not living.” But Obama punted on Obamacare’s role in cutting hours, refusing to address the question at all.
“I think the one thing Americans agree on is that if you work full-time in this country, you should not be in poverty when you’re raising your family,” Obama responded, moving onto his minimum wage proposal.
Watch the full video of the Google Plus hangout here.
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