LA Times: Obama seeks to allay healthcare law concerns

The president is trying to calm anxieties about insurance rate hikes, in part by publicizing the law’s benefits and showcasing efforts to sign up the uninsured.

By Noam N. Levey, Washington BureauApril 30, 2013, 7:31 p.m.


WASHINGTON — President Obama sought to tamp down fears Tuesday that his landmark healthcare law would raise insurance costs and cause other disruptions, saying most Americans were already benefiting from it and others soon would.

“Any time you’re implementing something big, there’s going to be people who are nervous,” the president said at a news conference at which he delivered a new pitch for the 2010 legislation. “For the average American out there, for the 85 and 90% of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened.”

Key parts of the law have been implemented, including a provision allowing people in their early 20s to remain on their parents’ health plans and requirements that insurers offer preventive benefits such as physical exams and cancer screenings without co-payments.

Referring to Americans enrolled in plans, Obama said, “Their insurance is more secure.”

But the law’s signature benefit — a guarantee that all Americans can get insurance, even if they are ill — doesn’t take effect until next year. Building a system to deliver on that promise has been the law’s most complex and costly challenge.

The Obama administration is now scrambling, as are some states, to set up state-based insurance marketplaces so that, beginning in October, Americans who do not get health benefits through work will be able to select a plan for coverage in 2014.

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