President Obama said that health care was not a privilege in a speech Thursday ahead of the October implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Obama spoke a day after the Republican House tried for the 38th time to dismantle the legislation, which will set up state-by-state insurance exchanges intended to drive down costs.
“We’ve got a lot of problems in this country, and there’s a lot of work that Congress needs to do—get a farm bill passed, get immigration reform done, make sure we get a budget in place—and yet, instead, we’re re-fighting these old battles,” Obama said.
Obamacare, as the act is derisively called by conservatives, has grown on some staunch opponents, including Arizona’s Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Brewer announced in January that she would stop fighting the law’s implementation, in order to expand Medicaid in her state.
“We’re just steadily working through all that stuff,” the president said of the opposition to the health care law. “The same was true when Medicare got started, the same was true when Social Security got started. But once it got set up, people started staying ‘This is a pretty good deal’.”
Several states, including California, Washington, and New York have reported decreasing costs in their insurance premiums. Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo reported that insurance premiums in his state would drop by 50% as a result of the ACA.
Another provision highlighted by the president requires insurers to spend a minimum of 80% of premiums on health care instead of business costs and provide refunds to consumers when the provision is not met.