President Obama and his team argued Thursday that Obamacare remains unpopular among many people because of a distortion campaign being waged by Republicans.
Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Obama said Republicans continue to wage a fight against the Affordable Care Act, which is making it harder for people to reach the right conclusions about it.
"Look, you wouldn't know any of this if you listened to the politicians on the other side out there about this who are obsessed with repealing this law," he said after touting the law's benefits. "To them, the facts I just mentioned don't matter, because this is an issue of ideology. This has to do with ... 'we're just against it.' Facts, evidence don't comport with their conviction that the ACA means an end to the American way. And 'repeal' has been a rallying cry."
"Republicans and our critics have spent hundreds of millions of dollars distorting the truth about this law, fueling conspiracy theories about this law," White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told reporters Thursday. "There's no question that that's going to have an impact."
Polls show that people have a stubborn resistance to the law, and that a slight majority view it unfavorably six years after its passage. Republicans have said the law is unpopular because of its mandates and taxes, and the reduced number of insurance options that Republicans say the law caused.
A new Rasmussen survey released Thursday found that 43 percent of likely U.S. voters have a favorable opinion of Obamacare, while 54 percent view the law unfavorably.
Obama traveled to Milwaukee on Thursday to help turn around public perception of his law, and congratulated local leaders for winning a national Obamacare enrollment contest.
More than 20 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage because of the Affordable Care Act, and the law has helped save lives and save money on health costs, Obama said.
"The Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, is saving lives and it's saving money, and we've done this while creating millions of new jobs," he said.
But Obama argued that the American public would never know the positive sides of the law if they listened to "politicians on the other side ... who are set on repealing the law."
Republicans, he said, have tried to repeal it about "60 times" and "they told you what they would replace it with about zero times."
Obama also thanked Milwaukee city officials and area residents for signing up the highest ratio of the uninsured among the 20 cities competing in the president's "Healthy Communities Challenge." More than 38,000 area residents enrolled in Obamacare of about 51,000 who were uninsured and eligible to enroll.
He criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a former GOP presidential candidate, for failing to expand Medicaid for seniors in the state. "He's denying Wisconsinites a ticket to their health insurance ... and it's political," he said.
The healthcare law, he said, is also encouraging hospitals to focus on quality of care. Since Obamacare became law, he said, hospitals have seen a big drop in the number of patients contracting infections, and there have been 87,000 fewer deaths and an estimated $20 billion in cost savings.
He touted the law's provisions for allowing young adults under the age of 26 to remain on their parents plans, millions of people with pre-existing conditions to continue their coverage, women's plans not to automatically cost more than men's and free preventative care.
For the first time, American's uninsured rate has fallen below 10 percent, and the number has dropped from roughly 44.8 million in 2013 to about 28.8 million in recent estimates, Obama said.