President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the Concert for Hope to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Bo, the Obama family dog, poses for a photo on the North Lawn of the White House, Sept. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Q: There is a lot that I want to ask you about the government shutdown and foreign policy, but I wanted to start with health care. The signature element of your health care law went online this week, and the interest seems to have really exceeded expectations, but there were some serious glitches with the online systems. And our reporting shows that the number of people who actually managed to sign up for insurance in the states using the federal system was in the single digits. How many people have actually signed up for insurance this week?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t have the numbers yet. What we know is that, as you indicated, the interest way exceeded expectations and that’s the good news. It shows that people really need and want affordable health care. And the product is a really good one. It turns out that choice and competition work. So what’s happened is you’ve got private insurers who have bid to get into this system to offer affordable health care at significantly lower prices than anybody could buy in the individual market, because basically they’re now part of a big group.
And it is true that what’s happened is the website got overwhelmed by the volume. And folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times, but we are confident that over the course of the six months – because it’s important to remember people have six months to sign up – that we are going to probably exceed what anybody expected in terms of the amount of interest that people have.
…. we asked the liberal-leaning actor for his thoughts about the ongoing government shutdown. He had many — on John Boehner’s grand strategy, on the “idiots” who think we don’t need government, and on Ted Cruz’s reading of Green Eggs and Ham.
“People keep talking about how this has to be a great negotiation, but there isn’t any negotiating a law. We negotiate on all these other topics, but this was put into law, and [Obama] was reelected on it. It was reaffirmed, it was passed through the Supreme Court — it’s a law. You don’t like it? Win an election. That’s how it works…..”
…. “Shutting down the government is not how you make government work. And anybody who thinks we don’t need it is an idiot.”
I think we linked this already, but it’s so good it can’t be linked enough:
Kurt Eichenwald: The Truth About Obamacare and How It Solves the Suffering of the Insured
Last week, I wrote a lengthy piece to refute the Republican lies about Obamacare. This week, I am going to write about some of the truths.
… Normally, I would start this discussion by providing chapter-and-verse details about the 47 million men, women, and children who now have the opportunity to obtain health insurance, to live longer and healthier lives, to avoid needless bankruptcies. But, in what to me is one of the saddest developments in our nation’s history, that reality is irrelevant to ardent Obamacare opponents.
Words like “takers” and “slackers” are thrown at the uninsured, as if they have brought their pre-existing conditions, jobs without benefits, or low-paying positions on themselves…..
…. I don’t expect to persuade the people who really believe all the malarkey about death panels and socialism. They have been lied to for so long that I think it will take years before they will be able to understand how badly they have been used. But, hopefully, there are those who want to know why Obamacare exists and what the point of it is. And when you know the truth, you will understand that — for all of its imperfections — Obamacare is an essential step toward healing the deeply sick American health-care system.
ThinkProgress: How A Rand Paul Republican From Alabama Learned To Love Obamacare
Joshua Pittman is a 31-year-old self-employed videographer from Montgomery, Alabama. A libertarian Republican who voted for Ron Paul in 2012 and believes that Sen. Rand Paul is the future of the GOP …. But on Tuesday morning, Pittman logged on to HealthCare.gov and after some initial glitches and delays, successfully enrolled in a Bronze-level Obamacare health insurance plan….
Though he initially supported repealing the law, Pittman became curious about Obamacare in the days and weeks before it launched …. Asked what he liked, Pittman highlighted its prohibition against denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, noting that he wouldn’t be able to find coverage without it….
… Pittman doesn’t believe that Obamacare is perfect, but says Republicans in Congress should stop trying to repeal the law and give it a chance to work. “As a Republican, I think [the GOP's repeal effort] is childish and I think this is the wrong way to lead… it’s babyish and I think as a party it just reflects negatively upon us,” he explains.
…. I currently pay $348 per month for health insurance, with a $1500 deductible. For a plan with the same level of coverage, I will now pay $297 per month, with a $1000 deductible. This will save me $1100 on health care in 2014. That’s $1100 that I will spend on something other than health care, money that will stimulate the economy. That money did not come from other taxpayers. The savings came as a result of setting up an exchange that would allow everyone to access group buying power.
…. the reason insurers can no longer discriminate against me for my pre-existing condition is because of the individual mandate. If there were no mandate forcing healthy people into the risk pool, then everyone would simply wait until they were sick to get insurance, and the entire insurance system would collapse.
… the Teahadists will scream about losing our freedoms, but as best as I can tell, the only freedoms I’m losing here are the freedom to be in pain and the freedom to overpay for health insurance.
Sorry, Senator Cruz, but contrary to what you wailed no fewer than 100 times during the course of your 21-hour fake filibuster/ideological hissy fit… Obamacare is working, chief.
EgbertoWillies: Even In Texas The Republican Caricature Of Obamacare Is Meeting Reality
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been one of the biggest obstructionists to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in Texas along with the entire Republican Party nationally. Inasmuch as Texas is the state with the highest rate of uninsured citizens he refused Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid. For those with pre-existing condition in Texas who were either in the high priced high risk Texas insurance pool or were uninsured because of the cost of these high risk pools, Obamacare comes to the rescue even here in Texas.
And more (thank yoooou GlobalCitizenLinda for the link!):
EgbertoWillies: GOP Biggest Fear Occurring – Republicans Loving Obamacare
Anyone wondering why the Right Wing Tea Party Republicans are in a frenzy, one need only see what is happening now that the reality of the Affordable Care Act is emerging. The lies they told are coming back to bite them.
They are attempting to discourage young American citizens from going to the exchanges by telling them Obamacare will either be too expensive or an intrusion from the government. Good things are happening however. Inasmuch as the Right Wing is being outright destructive with the nation’s economy in the attempt to derail Obamacare, empirical and factual data is proven to be a hindrance to their obstructionist tactics.
The State Health Bureaucracy in Texas is actually promoting Obamacare. That is a feat in its own right. On October 1st, the Obamacare health exchange servers were overwhelmed because of the inordinately large number of people accessing it.
…. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.
…. the glitches of October won’t matter in the long run. But why are they actually encouraging? Because they appear, for the most part, to be the result of the sheer volume of traffic, which has been much heavier than expected. And this means that one big worry of Obamacare supporters — that not enough people knew about the program, so that many eligible Americans would fail to sign up — is receding fast.
….. Obamacare is off to a good start, with even the bad news being really good news for the program’s future. We’re not quite there yet, but more and more, it looks as if health reform is here to stay.
Sarah Palin finally got her death panels — a direct blow from the Republican House. In shutting down the government, leaving 800,000 people without a paycheck and draining the economy of $300 million a day, the Party of Madness also took away last-chance cancer trials for children at the National Institutes of Health.
And now that the pain that was dismissed as a trifle on Monday, a “slimdown” according to the chuckleheads at Fox News, is revealed as tragic by mid-week, the very radicals who caused the havoc are trying to say it’s not their fault.
It’s too late. They flunked hostage-taking. About 30 or so Republicans in the House, bunkered in gerrymandered districts while breathing the oxygen of delusion, are now part of a cast of miscreants who have stood firmly on the wrong side of history. The headline, today and 50 years from now, will be the same: Republicans closed the government to keep millions of their fellow Americans from getting affordable health care.
Our view: There is no room to ‘negotiate’ when extremists take the federal government hostage — and threaten to do the same to the economy
With the shutdown dragging along and no discernible progress coming out of Wednesday’s meeting between President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders, Republicans bemoaned the Democrats’ unwillingness to negotiate. They’ll negotiate with the president of Iran, was the common GOP talking point, but they won’t talk to us.
Actually, the more appropriate comparison might have been that President Obama didn’t negotiate with foreign terrorists out to hurt the country, and he isn’t rewarding similar tactics back home. California Rep. George Miller, a Democrat, may have gone too far when he recently referred to the tea party attack on Obamacare as a “jihad” on the House floor, but not by too much.
Greg Sargent: Dems move to force Republicans to reopen the government
House Democratic leaders believe they have hit on a new way to potentially force House Republican leaders into allowing a vote on a “clean CR” funding the government without any defunding of Obamacare attached.
At last count, as many as two dozen House Republicans appear prepared to vote for a clean CR. With Democrats included, that means a majority of the House of Representatives would vote right now to reopen the government. But the House GOP leadership won’t allow such a vote.
Dems have hit on a way to use a “discharge petition,” which forces a House vote if a majority of Representatives signs it, to try to force the issue. Previously, it was thought this could not work, because a discharge petition takes 30 legislative days to ripen, so if this were tried with the clean CR that passed the Senate, this couldn’t bear fruit until some time in November.
But now House Democrats say they have found a previously filed bill to use as a discharge petition — one that would fund the government at sequester levels.