President Obama defiantly pledged to preserve his healthcare law, trumpeting the Affordable Care Act in Ohio on Thursday, even as Democrats pursue a legislative fix for his signature domestic achievement.
Obama traveled to an ArcelorMittal steel plant in Cleveland for an event that was supposed to focus on economic gains made by the administration. However, the president was forced to confront the botched rollout of Obamacare, setbacks that have put Democrats on the defensive and entirely consumed Washington.
“I'm going to see this through,” Obama said of the healthcare law.
“We are not going to gut this law; we will fix what needs to be fixed,” he added.
Earlier Thursday, Obama unveiled a plan that would allow insurance companies to renew for a year health plans canceled under Obamacare. However, insurers still have the option not to preserve the canceled plans, meaning many Americans will still face the same problem.
The insurance industry largely ripped the proposal, saying it would undo much of the work they have done to prepare to implement the sweeping law.
Democratic lawmakers are still pursuing legislative changes, saying the administration’s fix doesn’t go far enough to help the millions of Americans receiving cancellation notices.
Obama at the Ohio event was noticeably less apologetic than during a White House press conference Thursday morning, in which he conceded the administration had “fumbled” the Obamacare rollout.
“We always knew this was going to be hard,” the president told the Cleveland crowd. “There’s a reason the folks who tried to do this for 100 years hadn’t done it.”
The president also took a swipe at the same insurance companies he is now asking to renew cancelled coverage plans.
Under Obamacare, the president said insurance companies would no longer “jack up your premium so you can’t afford it” just “because you had some sort of preexisting condition.”
The president travels to Philadelphia later Thursday for a Democratic fundraiser.