As problems continue at HealthCare.gov, President Obama has morphed into the world’s most powerful pitch man, hawking his signature domestic achievement to an increasingly skeptical population.
In his weekly address, the president fully embraced his new role and told Americans — just as he did in a Rose Garden speech earlier this week — that Obamacare will be a success despite the glitches still plaguing his law’s website.
“Some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman. And that’s OK,” Mr. Obama said. “I’d still be out there championing this law even if the website were perfect. I’ll never stop fighting to help more hardworking Americans know the economic security of health care. That’s something we should all want.”
It’s been a rocky first month for Mr. Obama’s health care reform act, as the federal government struggles to repair a website that, by almost all accounts, has largely been a disaster since launching Oct. 1.
This week, the White House announced it would “realign” the date by which Americans must purchase insurance or face fines.
The move will give the uninsured until March 31 to buy coverage, rather than the previous de facto cut-off of Feb. 15.
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The move has been described by critics as a retreat, an admission that the Obamacare roll-out has been a failure.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example, described it as an “expensive joke.”
But the president tells a much different story. He’s directing Americans to enroll for coverage over the phone or in person, and promises that, eventually, HealthCare.gov will function as intended.
He’s also pushing back at the assumption that, because of the flawed website, Obamacare will fall flat.
“We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a website,” he said. “We did it to free millions of American families from the awful fear that one illness or injury — to yourself or your child — might cost you everything you’d worked so hard to build. We did it to cement the principle that in this country, the security of health care is not a privilege for a fortunate few, but a right for every one of us to enjoy. We have already delivered on part of that promise and we will not rest until the work is done.”