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Obama: Healthcare nothing 'to play politics with'

Aug. 17, 2013 at 6:05 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday some congressional Republicans are trying to "gum up the works" on healthcare reform for partisan political reasons.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president said his administration is "well on our way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act," enacted in 2010, but "a lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they'll somehow be sticking it to me. But they'd just be sticking it to you."

Obama said many in Congress are informing constituents about how the ACA works but some are "working hard to confuse people, and making empty promises that they'll either shut down the healthcare law, or, if they don't get their way, they'll shut down the government."

He said many Republicans are "more concerned with how badly this debate will hurt them politically than they are with how badly it'll hurt the country."

"Some even say that if you call their office with questions about the law, they'll refuse to help," he said. "Call me old-fashioned -- but that's lousy constituent service. And it's not what you deserve.

"Your health insurance isn't something to play politics with. Our economy isn't something to play politics with. This isn't a game. This is about the economic security of millions of families."

The president said the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, is helping rebuild the economy following the deepest recession since the Great Depression -- "an economy built firmly on the cornerstones of middle-class life."

He said the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance are enjoying new benefits and protections, including free annual checkups, mammograms and contraceptive care; discounts on prescription medicine under Medicare; and the ability of people to stay on their parents healthcare plan until age 26.

"If you don't have insurance, beginning on Oct. 1, private plans will actually compete for your business," Obama said. "You can comparison shop in an online marketplace, just like you would for cellphone plans or plane tickets."

The president reminded listeners to get information about government online at HealthCare.gov.

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