(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is using his weekly address to urge Americans to enroll in the new health insurance marketplace, despite what he admits are “frustrating” technical problems with the website.
Read the full transcript of the president's address:
"Hi, everybody. A few weeks ago, we launched an important new part of the Affordable Care Act.
"It’s called the Marketplace. And for Americans without health insurance, and Americans who buy insurance on their own because they can’t get it at work, it’s a very big deal.
"If you’re one of those people, the Affordable Care Act makes you part of a big group plan for the first time. The Marketplace is where you can apply and shop for affordable new health insurance choices. It gathers insurers under one system to compete for your business. And that choice and competition have actually helped bring prices down.
"Ultimately, the easiest way to buy insurance in this Marketplace will be a new website, HealthCare.gov. But as you may have heard, the site isn’t working the way it’s supposed to yet. That’s frustrating for all of us who have worked so hard to make sure everyone who needs it gets health care. And it’s especially frustrating for the Americans who’ve been trying to get covered. The site has been visited more than 20 million times so far. Nearly 700,000 people have applied for coverage already. That proves just how much demand there is for these new quality, affordable health care choices. And that’s why, in the coming weeks, we are going to get it working as smoothly as it’s supposed to. We’ve got people working overtime, 24/7, to boost capacity and address these problems, every single day.
"But even as we improve the website, remember that the website isn’t the only way to apply for coverage under these new plans. We’ve updated HealthCare.gov to offer more information about enrolling over the phone, by mail, or in person with a specially-trained navigator who can help answer your questions. Just call 1-800-318-2596 or visit LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov. Don’t worry – these plans will not sell out. We’re only a few weeks into a six-month open enrollment period, and everyone who wants insurance through the Marketplace will get it.
"Some people have poked fun at me this week for sounding like an insurance salesman. And that’s okay. 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.
"That’s why it’s also interesting to see Republicans in Congress expressing so much concern that people are having trouble buying health insurance through the new website – especially considering they’ve spent the last few years so obsessed with denying those same people access to health insurance that they just shut down the government and threatened default over it.
"As I’ve said many times before, I’m willing to work with anyone, on any idea, who’s actually willing to make this law perform better. But it’s well past the time for folks to stop rooting for its failure. Because hardworking, middle-class families are rooting for its success.
"The Affordable Care Act gives people who’ve been stuck with sky-high premiums because of preexisting conditions the chance to get affordable insurance for the first time.
"This law means that women can finally buy coverage that doesn’t charge them higher premiums than men for the same care.
"And everyone who already has health insurance, whether through your employer, Medicare, or Medicaid, will keep the benefits and protections this law has already put in place. Three million more young adults have health insurance on their parents’ plans because of the Affordable Care Act. More than six million people on Medicare have saved an average of $1,000 on their prescription medicine because of the Affordable Care Act. Last year, more than 8 million Americans received half a billion dollars in refunds from their insurers because of the Affordable Care Act. And for tens of millions of women, preventive care like mammograms and birth control are free because of the Affordable Care Act.
"That’s all part of this law, and it’s here to stay.
"We did not fight so hard for this reform for so many years just to build a website. 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.
"Thank you, and have a great weekend."
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