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  • Ms. Baker: Hello, my name is Janice Baker.

  • I have the privilege to say that I'm the first person

  • in the state of Delaware to enroll for health insurance

  • through the new marketplace.

  • [Applause.]

  • Like many consumers out there,

  • it took me a number of frustrating attempts

  • before I could apply for and select my plan.

  • I kept trying because I needed access

  • to the new health care options.

  • I had applied to three private insurance companies

  • only to be rejected due to preexisting health conditions.

  • I am too young for Medicare,

  • but I'm too old not to have some health issues.

  • I was able to find a policy I am thrilled with,

  • saving $150 a month,

  • and much lower deductibles

  • than my previous policy that I held through my small business.

  • I'm here today to encourage other people like me

  • who needs access to quality, affordable insurance,

  • and to tell them to have patience with such a new system.

  • Without this ability to get this insurance,

  • I know that a single hospital stay

  • could have bankrupted me and my business.

  • Thank you all.

  • And I am now honored to introduce

  • the President of the United States.

  • [Applause.]

  • The President: Thank you.

  • [Applause.]

  • Thank you, everybody.

  • Well, thank you, Janice.

  • And thanks to everybody here for coming on this beautiful day.

  • Welcome to the White House.

  • About three weeks ago, as the federal government shut down,

  • the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplaces

  • opened for business across the country.

  • Well, we've now gotten the government back open

  • for the American people,

  • and today I want to talk about how we're going to get

  • the marketplaces running at full steam, as well.

  • And I'm joined today by folks who have either benefited

  • from the Affordable Care Act already,

  • or who are helping their fellow citizens learn

  • about what this law means for them

  • and how they can get covered.

  • Of course, you've probably heard that HealthCare.gov --

  • the new website where people can apply for health insurance,

  • and browse and buy affordable plans in most states --

  • hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work.

  • And the number of people who have visited the site

  • has been overwhelming,

  • which has aggravated some of these underlying problems.

  • Despite all that, thousands of people are signing up

  • and saving money as we speak.

  • Many Americans with a preexisting condition,

  • like Janice, are discovering that they can finally get

  • health insurance like everybody else.

  • So today, I want to speak to every American

  • who's looking to get affordable health insurance.

  • I want you to know what's available to you

  • and why it may be a good deal for you.

  • And for those who've had some problems with the website,

  • I want to tell you what we're doing to make it work better

  • and how you can sign up to get covered in other ways.

  • But before I do that, let me remind everybody

  • that the Affordable Care Act is not just a website.

  • It's much more.

  • For the vast majority of Americans --

  • for 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance

  • through your employer or Medicare or Medicaid --

  • you don't need to sign up for coverage

  • through a website at all.

  • You've already got coverage.

  • What the Affordable Care Act does for you

  • is to provide you with new benefits and protections

  • that have been in place for some time.

  • You may not know it,

  • but you're already benefiting

  • from these provisions in the law.

  • For example, because of the Affordable Care Act,

  • young people like Jasmine Jennings,

  • and Jessica Ugalde, and Ezra Salop,

  • all of whom are here today,

  • they've been able to stay on their parents' plans

  • until they're 26.

  • Millions of other young people are currently benefiting

  • from that part of the law.

  • [Applause.]

  • Another part of the Affordable Care Act is providing seniors

  • with deeper discounts on their prescription medicine.

  • Billions of dollars have been saved by seniors already.

  • That's part of the law.

  • It's already in place.

  • It's happening right now.

  • Already, because of the Affordable Care Act,

  • preventive care like mammograms and birth control are free

  • through your employers.

  • That's part of this law.

  • [Applause.]

  • So there are a wide range of consumer protections

  • and benefits that you already have

  • if you've got health insurance.

  • You may not have noticed them, but you've got them,

  • and they're not going anywhere.

  • And they're not dependent on a website.

  • Here's another thing that the Affordable Care Act does.

  • In states where governors and legislatures

  • have wisely allowed it,

  • the Affordable Care Act provides the opportunity

  • for many Americans to get covered under Medicaid

  • for the first time.

  • So in Oregon, for example, that's helped cut the number of

  • uninsured people by 10 percent just in the last three weeks.

  • Think about that.

  • That's 56,000 more Americans who now have health care.

  • [Applause.]

  • That doesn't depend on a website.

  • Now, if you're one of the 15 percent of Americans

  • who don't have health insurance --

  • either because you can't afford it

  • or because your employer doesn't offer it,

  • or because you're a small businessperson

  • and you have to go out on the individual market

  • and buy it on your own and it's just too expensive --

  • October 1st was an important date.

  • That's when we opened the new marketplaces

  • where people without health insurance,

  • or who can't afford health insurance,

  • or who aren't part of a group plan,

  • can finally start getting affordable coverage.

  • And the idea is simple.

  • By enrolling in what we're calling these marketplaces,

  • you become part of a big group plan --

  • as if you were working for a big employer --

  • a statewide group plan that spreads risk

  • between sick people and healthy people,

  • between young and old, and then bargains on your behalf

  • for the best deal on health care.

  • What we've done is essentially create a competition

  • where there wasn't competition before.

  • We created these big group plans,

  • and now insurers are really interested

  • in getting your business.

  • And so insurers have created new health care plans

  • with more choices to be made available

  • through these marketplaces.

  • And as a result of this choice and this competition,

  • prices have come down.

  • When you add the new tax credits

  • that many people are eligible for through the law,

  • then the prices come down even further.

  • So one study shows that through new options created

  • by the Affordable Care Act,

  • nearly 6 in 10 uninsured Americans

  • will find that they can get covered

  • for less than $100 a month.

  • Think about that.

  • [Applause.]

  • Through the marketplaces,

  • you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent

  • of your cell phone bill or your cable bill,

  • and that's a good deal.

  • So the fact is the product of the Affordable Care Act

  • for people without health insurance

  • is quality health insurance that's affordable.

  • And that product is working.

  • It's really good.

  • And it turns out there's a massive demand for it.

  • So far, the national website, HealthCare.gov,

  • has been visited nearly 20 million times.

  • Twenty million times.

  • [Applause.]

  • And there's great demand at the state level as well,

  • because there are a bunch of states

  • that are running their own marketplaces.

  • We know that nearly one-third of the people

  • applying in Connecticut and Maryland, for example,

  • are under 35 years old.

  • They understand that they can get a good deal at low costs,

  • have the security of health care,

  • and this is not just for old folks like me --

  • that everybody needs good quality health insurance.

  • And all told, more than half a million consumers

  • across the country have successfully submitted

  • applications through federal and state marketplaces.

  • And many of those applications aren't just for individuals,

  • it's for their entire families.

  • So even more people are already looking

  • to potentially take advantage

  • of the high quality, affordable insurance

  • that is provided through the Affordable Care Act.

  • So let me just recap here.

  • The product is good.

  • The health insurance that's being provided is good.

  • It's high quality and it's affordable.

  • People can save money, significant money,

  • by getting insurance that's being provided

  • through these marketplaces.

  • And we know that the demand is there.

  • People are rushing to see what's available.

  • And those who have already had a chance to enroll

  • are thrilled with the result.

  • Every day, people who were stuck with sky-high premiums

  • because of preexisting conditions

  • are getting affordable insurance for the first time,

  • or finding, like Janice did,

  • that they're saving a lot of money.

  • Every day, women are finally buying coverage

  • that doesn't charge them higher premiums than men

  • for the same care.

  • [Applause.]

  • Every day, people are discovering

  • that new health insurance plans have to cover maternity care,

  • mental health care, free preventive care.

  • So you just heard Janice's story --

  • she owns her own small business.

  • She recently became the first woman to enroll in coverage

  • through Delaware's exchange.

  • And it's true, it took her a few tries,

  • but it was worth it after being turned down for insurance

  • three times due to minor preexisting conditions.

  • So now she'll be covered, she'll save 150 bucks a month,

  • and she won't have to worry that one illness or accident

  • will cost her her business that she's worked so hard to build.

  • And Janice is not alone.

  • I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica

  • Sanford in Washington State.

  • And here's what she wrote: "I am a single mom, no child support,

  • self-employed, and I haven't had insurance for 15 years

  • because it's too expensive.

  • My son has ADHD and requires regular doctor visits and his

  • meds alone cost $250 per month.

  • I have had an ongoing tendinitis problem due to my line of work

  • that I haven't had treated.

  • Now, finally, we get to have coverage because of the ACA

  • for $169 per month.

  • I was crying the other day when I signed up.

  • So much stress lifted."

  • Now, that is not untypical for a lot of folks like Jessica

  • who have been struggling without health insurance.

  • That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about.

  • The point is, the essence of the law --

  • the health insurance that's available to people --

  • is working just fine.

  • In some cases, actually, it's exceeding expectations --

  • the prices are lower than we expected,

  • the choice is greater than we expected.

  • But the problem has been that the website that's supposed to

  • make it easy to apply for and purchase the insurance

  • is not working the way it should for everybody.

  • And there's no sugarcoating it.

  • The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck

  • during the application process.

  • And I think it's fair to say that nobody

  • is more frustrated by that than I am --

  • precisely because the product is good,