Obama says he has 1 more campaign: making Obamacare work

McClatchy Washington BureauNovember 18, 2013 

President Obama used a conference call to urge volunteers with his political action arm -- Organizing for Action -- to help him get people signed up for health insurance, urging them to talk about the law during holiday parties.

"I've run my last political campaign, but I've got one more campaign in me and that's making sure that this law works," Obama told an estimated 200,000 volunteers on the call via the Internet. "My main message is: I'm going to need your help. Your energy, your faith, your ability to reach out to neighbors...you're going to make the difference."

The call -- on a scratchy line that sounded like a '40s radio show -- came after a rough week that has raised questions about whether the administration can recover from the calamitous roll out of the website and insurance cancellations despite Obama's "if you like your health care, you can keep it" pledge.

But Obama said he's not bowed by the difficulties, though his 12 minute pep talk lacked much of the vigor he generally brings to campaign-style events.

"Despite all the noise, despite all the criticism, despite all the setbacks we've experienced throughout this process, I never lost faith in our ability to get this done," Obama said.

He argued that despite all the problems, "in a month half a million Americans will likely have the security of health care for the first time in their lives..and that is life changing."

He acknowledged the widespread glitches with healthcare.gov have "made it tougher" for people to enroll.

Still, he said, "I am confident that by the end of this month it’s going to be functioning for the vast majority of folks."

Still, Obama said the program is going to require more than just website signups. "We've always understood we're going to have to enroll people by mail, over the phone and in person.

He noted people have several months to sign up: "This isn't a one day sale, prices aren't going to change...We just got to get out there and get it done."

And he suggested volunteers at Christmas parties and in the community "remind people.. to take advantage of the opportunity to get health care for the first time."

"It turns out that purchasing insurance for a lot of folks is complicated...it's a little scary going out there shopping for your own," he said.

He also used the call to criticize Republicans for filibustering one of his judicial nominations.

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