Obama insists reform works, praises Calif.’s premiums
President Barack Obama promoted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in California on Friday, a signal that the White House is shifting into campaign mode in the final months before the core coverage provisions go live. Amid conflicting evidence and claims regarding the law’s effects on insurance premiums, Obama insisted the law is working as it should and praised lower-than-expected rates in California. He also touted a public-private partnership there to help Americans enroll in coverage later this year. Speaking at the Fairmont Hotel San Jose, the president promoted a partnership among Covered California (the state’s health insurance exchange), the California Endowment, and three Spanish-speaking media outlets— Impremedia, Telemundo Station Group and Univision—that joined efforts this year to educate Californians about the law and help them get access to coverage when open enrollment begins Oct. 1. The California Endowment will pour $25 million over two years into the partnership, according to a spokeswoman. It’s not surprising that the president promoted the law in California, which has the nation’s largest insurance market and is home to about 6 million uninsured Americans. And there’s another reason: The White House views young, healthy individuals as a key target audience for the exchanges, and the administration estimates that nearly one-third of young, healthy Americans live in three states: California, Florida and Texas. About 2.6 million Californians—nearly half of whom are Latinos—will qualify for tax credits that will, in some cases, lower their premiums significantly, Obama said.
President Barack Obama arrives late last week in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he promoted efforts to enroll Californians in new coverage under the Affordable Care Act.