Obama Focuses on Health Care Law Positives, House GOP Attacks
Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., and Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., check out a printed version of the Affordable Care Act at a May press conference on Capitol Hill. Photo By Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call.
More than three years since President Barack Obama signed the health care bill into law, and a year removed from the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the policy overhaul, the fight over the Affordable Care Act rages on.
A day after the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted to delay Obamacare’s individual and employer mandates, the 38th and 39th time the chamber has voted to repeal or modify the law, Mr. Obama will use a White House appearance Thursday to tout the benefits of his signature domestic achievement. The president is expected to highlight a provision that requires insurance companies to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical care or improvements to health care delivery, or issue refunds to their customers.
Updated 12 p.m. ET – Watch President Obama’s statement about healthcare:
And minutes after the president began speaking, John Boehner held a dueling press event:
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney gave a preview of the president’s remarks on Wednesday, noting that 8.5 million families had received rebates, with an average payment of nearly $100. “This is just one of the many ways the Affordable Care Act is giving consumers a better value for their health care dollar and making our health care system stronger,” Carney said.
The public push comes two weeks after the Obama administration announced that it would delay the enforcement of the employer mandate until 2015, giving businesses with more than 50 employees an extra year to provide health insurance to workers or face penalties as much as $3,000.
Following Wednesday’s votes in the House, Speaker John Boehner released a statement urging the president and Senate Democrats to support the Republican-led effort and delay the mandates for all Americans.
“If the president’s going to give relief to businesses, he ought to give relief from these harsh mandates to families and individuals, too,” the Ohio Republican said. “Yet the White House has signaled the president’s intention to veto these efforts, thus opposing basic fairness and laying bare the hypocrisy of Washington Democrats.”
Politico’s Paige Winfield Cunningham and Kyle Cheney note that the votes were intended to put House Democrats in a tough spot. And moments after the second vote on delaying the individual mandate, the National Republican Campaign Committee sent out a press release blasting the 13 House Democrats who supported the deferment for employers, but not individuals.
Ahead of the votes, Carney called the GOP approach a “futile effort,” and also took aim at the party’s motives.
“There are few things more cynical than the House Republicans who have made it their mission in life to repeal the Affordable Care Act and deny the American people the benefits that they would receive from implementation of the Affordable Care Act, claiming that they are concerned about the delay of the implementation of a relatively small provision within the Affordable Care Act,” Carney said.
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and Sarah Kliff, meanwhile, go inside the White House plan to sell the health care law, and find that the operation has its roots in the old Obama campaign organization:
The focus on young, minority voters. The heavy reliance on microtargeting. The enthusiasm about nontraditional communications channels. The analytics-rich modeling. It sounds like the Obama campaign. And administration officials don’t shy away from the comparison.
“When I hear the conventional wisdom about Obamacare,” said Jeanne Lambrew, deputy assistant to the president for health policy, “this is the difference between the Karl Roves who put their fingers to the wind and the Nate Silvers of the world who looked at the numbers.”
But the effort will have to go far beyond engineering turnout among key demographics. The administration needs to build more insurance marketplaces than they ever expected, and create an unprecedented IT infrastructure that lets the federal government’s computers seamlessly talk to the (often ancient) systems used in state Medicaid offices. They need to fend off repeal efforts from congressional Republicans — like Wednesday’s vote to delay the individual mandate — and somehow work with red-state bureaucracies that want to see Obamacare fail. And they can’t escape the fact that the law, three years after passage, remains stubbornly unpopular.
Given how deeply divided the American public is on the health care overhaul, both sides are likely to keep up the fight, with the president singing the law’s praises, and House Republicans sure to set up vote number 40.
A dozen GOP senators have met regularly with senior White House aides over the past six weeks to talk about a big fiscal deal as this fall’s debt limit deadline looms, National Journal’s Chris Frates reports.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll on immigration reform proposals finds a majority of Democrats support, while a majority of Republicans oppose, the pathway to citizenship provision. And while majorities from both parties support adding 20,000 agents and 700 miles of fence on the U.S.-Mexico border, support dropped significantly when the survey added the $46 billion cost to questions about those border security measures.
Emails obtained by the Washington Post show Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell helped arrange a meeting for Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams to pitch his dietary supplement to the state’s secretary of health.
In the race to succeed McDonnell as Virginia Governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe holds a narrow lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, 43 percent to 39 percent, in a poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University.
Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., unveiled a new media shield bill on Wednesday.
The Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reports that Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., will speak at the 10th Anniversary North Iowa Wing Ding Fundraiser next month.
Team Romney is reuniting to celebrate a PAC next week in Washington.
A grand jury in California is investigating whether the sources of $11 million in donations for 2012 ballot measure campaigns can remain secret.
Iowa officials fired the agent who complained about speeding by the governor’s state trooper drivers. The agent spoke with the Des Moines Register Wednesday.
The Senate’s newest member, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, received his committee assignments Wednesday and won’t be on a panel that addresses one of his pet issues, environmental policy.
The new Vital Statistics on Congress counts how the 112th Congress compared to previous ones in passing legislation. Spoiler alert — it was the least productive in more than six decades.
The Verge slickly presents with infographics how the National Security Agency’s surveillance and data collection programs work.
A high school intern for the Daily Caller got under press secretary Jay Carney’s skin at Wednesday’s White House briefing after asking a question about George Zimmerman’s security.
Wednesday was also the day a Capitol Hill intern would grab Twitter’s attention, with an enthusiastic leaked email about the Pledge of Allegiance and some eyebrow-raising social media posts.
Buzzfeed will offer a one-year $100,000 national security reporting fellowship to honor Michael Hastings, whose 2010 Rolling Stone story ended Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s military career.
Republican George P. Bush, son of Jeb and nephew of George W., will face a Democratic challenger from El Paso in the race for Texas land commissioner if he wins his primary.
Liz Cheney, who is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Mike Enzi in a 2014 primary, said her opponent must be “confused” when he responded to her campaign announcement with surprise Tuesday. She had told him before she announced that she was thinking about running, she said.
- When Wyoming hit the political news cycle this week with Cheney’s announcement, enterprising reporters gravitated to the quirks of the state. The Atlantic found that yes, Wyoming still has only two sets of escalators. And the New Republic argues its small population doesn’t deserve two Senate seats.
- Gwen Ifill spoke with Jonathan Martin of the New York Times about Cheney’s decision to run against Enzi in the Cowboy State.
Watch the segment here or below:
On our Making Sen$e page, Fulbright scholar and stand-up comedian Jesse Appell explains how a Chinese pop song illustrates similarities between the U.S. and Chinese economies, and what puts the Chinese in worse shape. Don’t miss his parody of “Gangnam Style.”
Paul Solman examines the toxic effects of China’s cut-throat economy and obsession with wealth.
Science Wednesday highlights new organisms shining a light on microbial dark matter.
- How will scientists name the new moon discovered orbiting Neptune? Find out in Lunch in the Lab.
If Rolling Stone ran this letter as their cover, it would be pretty Rock'n'roll pic.twitter.com/CZmoSTDt8E
— Dan Milano (@DanMilanoABC) July 17, 2013
Liz Cheney at campaign launch presser: "It's not true — I did not tell Sen. Enzi I wouldn't run if he did. I suppose he's just confused."
— Mike O'Brien (@mpoindc) July 17, 2013
Simone Pathe and desk assistant Mallory Sofastaii contributed to this report.
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