clear
Wednesday July 8th, 2015 2:41AM

Obama hails 'historic' launch of health exchanges

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Hailing it as an "historic day," President Barack Obama pressed forward his flagship health care program Tuesday, inaugurating new insurance exchanges to expand access for those without coverage despite the shutdown taking hold across much of the government.<br /> <br /> Obama said the opportunity to access affordable insurance is life-changing for those who could not do so before the launch of the exchanges, now open for enrollment for six months starting Tuesday. As a sign of how eager Americans were to get started, Obama said more than 1 million people had visited the website before 7 a.m. EDT - exceeding expectations and, in some cases, slowing down the computer systems.<br /> <br /> "This is life-or-death stuff," Obama said in the White House Rose Garden, flanked by Americans who plan to enroll through the exchanges. He said tens of thousands of Americans die each year for lack of health insurance, and others go bankrupt. "Today we begin to free millions of our fellow Americans from that fear."<br /> <br /> Obama urged Americans to call in or go online, promoting an online system that he said will offer more choices, more competition and lower prices. For that to work, the Obama administration needs tens of millions of Americans - mostly younger, healthy people - to sign up of offset the costs of patients whose health care costs more.<br /> <br /> Obama acknowledged there would be glitches in rolling out the program - there have been plenty already - but said that's normal and that the problems will be fixed. The Obama administration hopes to sign up 7 million people during the first year.<br /> <br /> Obama's appearance kicked off a major campaign by his administration and its allies to enroll as many Americans as possible through the exchanges, a centerpiece of Obama's health care law.<br /> <br /> But any sense of festivity surrounding the opening of the exchanges was quickly eclipsed by the fact that throughout Washington and across the country, much of the federal government was shuttered. Congress, gridlocked over whether to dismantle the law, missed the midnight deadline to keep funding the government.<br /> <br /> That meant that hundreds of thousands of federal workers were sent home - including many of Obama's own aides. The White House cut its staff by three-quarters as first partial shutdown in almost two decades began.<br /> <br /> That his health care law remained so contentious in Congress three years after he signed it was not lost on Obama. Visibly rankled by Republicans' continued efforts to gut the law and use a shutdown as leverage, Obama denounced House Republicans for what he called an "ideological crusade to deny health insurance to millions of Americans."<br /> <br /> "This shutdown is not about deficits, it's not about budgets," Obama said. "It's about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don't have it. It's about rolling back the Affordable Care Act."<br /> <br /> "This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days," he added.<br /> <br /> Obama's other message to Americans: Shutdown or not, the exchanges remain open. That's because funding for much of the Affordable Care Act, like other "mandatory" functions such as Social Security, air traffic control and national defense, is protected from the whims of Congress.<br /> <br /> "It is settled, and it is here to stay," Obama said.<br /> <br /> Obama was also deploying top deputies Tuesday to spread the message of newly available health care coverage, the White House said. Vice President Joe Biden will appear on college radio stations. First lady Michelle Obama is publishing an editorial on a women's lifestyle website. And senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett and other officials will be guests on African-American radio shows.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
S&P 500 index has its best year since 1997
The stock market closed out a record year with more all-time highs on Tuesday, giving U.S. indexes their biggest annual gains in almost two decades.
6:56PM ( 1 year ago )
Colorado readies for 'Green Wednesday' pot sales
Police were adding extra patrols around pot shops in eight Colorado towns that plan to allow recreational sales to anyone over 21 on Jan. 1.
1:52PM ( 1 year ago )
Kerry seeks framework for Mideast peace talks
A senior State Department official says Secretary of State John Kerry will try this week to get Israel and the Palestinians to agree on a framework for negotiating a final peace agreement, yet cautions against raising expectations for Kerry's latest round of shuttle diplomacy.
1:35PM ( 1 year ago )
U.S. News
Missing Ga. bank director arrested in Brunswick
A bank director accused of losing millions of investors' dollars before vanishing last year was arrested Tuesday during a traffic stop in a city in south Georgia.
7:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Amtrak to suspend some Crescent service in Jan., Feb.
Amtrak service will shut down in parts of the Southeast for several days in January and February for rail maintenance by Norfolk Southern Railway.
9:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Lung cancer scans urged for some smokers, not all
Certain current or former heavy smokers should start getting yearly scans for lung cancer to cut their risk of death from the nation's top cancer killer, government advisers said Monday - even as they stressed that the tests aren't for everyone.
7:26AM ( 1 year ago )
Business News
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Victim critical following apartment fire
A 41-year-old woman was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being rescued from an apartment fire in Forsyth County late Monday afternoon.
3:16PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
Feeling US snub, Saudis strengthen ties elsewhere
Increasingly vocal in its frustration over U.S. policies in the Mideast, Saudi Arabia is strengthening ties elsewhere, seeking out an alignment that will bolster its position after it was pushed to the sidelines this year.
4:34PM ( 1 year ago )
NSA reportedly intercepts computer deliveries
A German magazine has lifted the lid on the operations of the National Security Agency's hacker unit, revealing how American spies intercepted computer deliveries, exploited hardware vulnerabilities, and even hijacked Microsoft's bug report system to spy on their targets.
12:31PM ( 1 year ago )
Rockets fired from Lebanon into Israel
Rockets from Lebanon struck northern Israel on Sunday, causing no injuries but sparking an Israeli reprisal shelling in a rare flare-up between the two countries.
12:26PM ( 1 year ago )
Politics
SC Senate OKs Confederate flag removal; House vote ahead
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate gave its final approval Tuesday to removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol grounds, but across the hall in the House, Republicans quietly sought...
9:14PM ( 5 hours ago )
Senate, House look to update Bush-era education law
WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress is making another run at rewriting the Bush-era No Child Left Behind education law, even as the Obama administration urges changes it says would ensure that schools are held...
5:18PM ( 9 hours ago )
US job openings stay high, but actual hiring falters in May
WASHINGTON (AP) — Job openings stayed close to a 15-year high in May. It's a sign that companies are expecting continued economic growth, but the level of advertised jobs hasn't driven the same kind o...
12:46PM ( 13 hours ago )
Cosby said he got drugs to give women for sex
Bill Cosby testified in 2005 that he got Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women he wanted to have sex with, and he admitted giving the sedative to at least one woman and "other people."
11:42PM ( 1 day ago )
US stocks slip amid global sell-off after Greek 'no' vote
NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks in the U.S. fell broadly following drops in overseas markets as Greeks voted to reject creditor conditions for more loans, but the losses weren't as steep as many had feared.Wit...
6:32PM ( 1 day ago )