One day before the five-year anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama proclaimed late Sunday that his signature healthcare legislation a success and its critics should "embrace reality."
In a statement released on WhiteHouse.gov
, Obama said, "This law is working, and in many ways, it’s working even better than anticipated."
The president signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010.
The law has undergone "more scrutiny, more rumor, more attempts to dismantle and undermine it than just about any law in recent history," Obama admitted.
But he had a word for Republicans still working to repeal and replace the controversial law.
"It's time to embrace reality. Instead of trying yet again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and allowing special interests to write their own rules, we should work together to keep improving our healthcare system for everybody," he said. "Instead of kicking millions off their insurance and doubling the number of uninsured Americans, as the House Republican budget would do, we should work together to make sure every American has a chance to get covered."
The latest attempt by foes to undo parts of the law, which requires every American to purchase health insurance or face a fine, will be played out in the U.S. Supreme Court, which heard arguments on the King v. Burwell case March 4, and is expected to rule on it in June or July.
But Obama stuck with the positive in Sunday's announcement, saying that 16 million Americans who didn't previously have health insurance now have coverage, cutting the ranks of the uninsured by a third.
That number has been disputed, with critics saying it counts people who had insurance already, but who signed up through the federal or state exchanges rather than on their own or through their employers.
Obama said those who already had insurance have saved on their premiums and have added protections.
"More than 9 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved an average of $1,600 per person on their prescription medicine, over $15 billion in all since the Affordable Care Act became law," he said. "More than 70 million Americans have gained access to preventive care, including contraceptive services, with no additional out-of-pocket costs."
Despite the claims by "cynics" that the law would kill jobs and cripple the economy, Obama said that nearly 12 million new jobs have been created since the law was passed.
And, he said, "a growing body of evidence – actual facts – shows that the Affordable Care Act is good for our economy."
Because of the law, there are parents who can afford to take their children to the doctor, families who no longer risk losing their home or savings because of an illness and young people able to start their own business, he said.
"There are Americans who, without this law, would not be alive today," Obama said.
Despite the rosy picture, The Huffington Post
noted that not all of the promises of Obamacare came to fruition.
Many people lost their plans because they didn't meet the requirements of the law, and young adults face higher premiums. Obama had promised everyone who liked their plan could keep it and that prices would be reduced for middle-class and poor individuals.
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