White House’s Final Push to Save Obamacare
Policy + Politics

White House’s Final Push to Save Obamacare

REUTERS/John Gress

It’s crunch time for the White House. With just days left before the Dec 23. enrollment deadline, the Obama administration is desperately attempting to rebound from the disastrous rollout and get as many people as possible signed up for healthcare before the end of the year. 

Going on an aggressive end-of-the-year public relations push, the White House released a series of reports Thursday, intended to help drum up support for Obamacare. The reports tout the benefits of the new law, and what Americans would lose if House Republicans got their wishes and it was repealed.

Related: Obamacare Signups Through November--365,000

“The benefits of the healthcare law are real, and the repeal plan pushed by Republicans in Congress would undermine or eliminate them across the board, reversing critical consumer protections and driving up costs for millions of Americans,” the White House said in a statement.

According to the report, 41 million uninsured Americans will either be eligible for Medicaid or to buy private health policies through the state or federal exchange, many of whom will qualify for government subsidies. The report also said about 129 million people with pre-existing conditions will now have access to affordable coverage that they otherwise would have been denied, and some 71 million Americans with private insurance have already received at a least one preventative care service like immunizations or mammograms in the past two years, thanks to Obamacare. 

“These are tangible benefits. They are real for hard-working families across the country,” David Simas, a senior White House adviser, said on a call to reporters Thursday.

The report breaks down state-by-state details in order to give a closer snapshot of the law’s impact. For example, it says about 4.4 million New Yorkers on private insurance plans received preventative care in 2011 and 2012, and some 268,000 people with pre-existing conditions in the District of Columbia will have access to affordable coverage.

Related: Obamacare Fixes Hide a Big Mess on the Back End

The reports are just the latest in the Obamacare blitz that the White House has launched to revive the law’s image and increase enrollment numbers, which have been disappointing so far.

The Obama administration has solicited the help of various celebrities including host of “The Voice” Adam Lavine, Lady Gaga, Michael Cera and others to sell Obamacare to young Americans, a key demographic the administration is counting on in order to make the law workable. Earlier this week, White House officials announced that First Lady Michelle Obama would also be leading the efforts to encourage enrollment.

Indeed, it seems as if they need all the help they can get. According to a new CBS News-New York Times poll released on Wednesday, just 39 percent of uninsured Americans --the very people the law is designed to benefit-- said they approve of the law, compared to 50 percent who disapprove.

Related: The Many Disrupted Lives Under Obamacare

About 365,000 people signed up for health coverage through the state or federal exchanges in October and November---nowhere near the 7 million the White House hopes to enroll by March 31. The lower than expected enrollment numbers are likely the result of persistent problems that plagued the website and prevented many from signing up during the first two months of Obamacare’s launch.

The White House has since claimed that HealthCare.gov has been repaired and is working “smoothly for the vast majority of users.” Just in case, officials announced last week that consumers would be able to wave the Dec 23. Deadline if they encounter problems on the website.

Insurance companies are also allowing delaying premium payments until January, at the request of the White House so more people are able to enroll.

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