November 04, 2013, 06:52 pm
Obama: 'I've got one more campaign in me'
By Justin Sink
President Obama on Monday gave a pep talk to former campaign staff working to implement his healthcare law, telling them to "stay on track" and "make this work."
"I've got one more campaign in me," Obama said. "The campaign to make sure this law works for every single person in this country."
The president was speaking Monday evening at a healthcare summit run by Organizing for Action, the political advocacy group formed from the remnants of his reelection campaign. His speech capped off a day long seminar designed to rally grassroots supporters to help the administration's push to get uninsured consumers to purchase healthcare plans available under the Affordable Care Act.
His remarks come just days after White House officials conceded that early enrollment figures in the ObamaCare exchanges would be low, partially due to technical glitches on healthcare.gov that have hampered signups.
Obama acknowledged that "the website isn't working as fast as it needs to, [and] that makes it tougher and that makes it scarier for folks."
"I'm not happy about it," Obama said, adding that he was "taking responsibility to make sure it gets fixed."
The president also acknowledged the brewing controversy over his campaign pledge that individuals could keep their health care plans if they wanted following the implementation of ObamaCare.
Individuals who have purchased insurance since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, changed plans during that period or had their insurance companies significantly alter their plans are not eligible to keep their coverage under the new law.
Some insurance companies have also said they will not continue to offer certain existing plans, saying that it is too administratively burdensome to manage plans that do not satisfy basic coverage requirements mandated by ObamaCare. Instead, they've offered consumers more expensive plans that include increased benefits.
Obama defended his repeated claim that individuals could keep their plans, while adding a caveat.
"What we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed," Obama said.
But the president devoted the majority of his remarks to reassuring supporters that the law was helping sick Americans — and would overcome its early stumbles.
Obama said he was fighting against "noise and misinformation," and said it was "nothing new to having a bunch of folks spreading fear and misinformation and confusion and cynicism about this law."
He also said that healthcare was a particularly volatile subject because it "touches on everyone."
But Obama urged supporters to stay the course, pledging that he would fight alongside them to defend his signature legislative achievement.
"When the unexpected happens, when the unanticipated happens, we're just going to work on it, we're going to fix things," Obama said, adding that the nation was "not going back" to a time before ObamaCare.
Later in the evening, Obama will attend a "working dinner" with top OFA donors, campaign alumni, staff, and representatives from other top liberal organizations — including Planned Parenthood, AFSCME, SEIU and the Center for American Progress.
Obama's attendance at the event will doubtlessly again raise questions about the president's relationship with OFA. Watchdog groups and Republicans have accused the White House of selling access to the administration through the outside group, which accepts unlimited campaign donations.
OFA officials have deflected the criticism, arguing that nobody is guaranteed an audience with the president and noting that the group discloses its donors even though it is not required to do so by law.