National

Obama pitches health care law in call

President Barack Obama meets with his national security and public health teams in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2014.
President Barack Obama meets with his national security and public health teams in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Nov. 18, 2014. TNS

President Barack Obama made a personal pitch for his health care act Tuesday, convening a call with what the White House says was a bipartisan group of 200 plus state and local elected officials.

Most of them are working to enroll people in health plans under the Affordable Care Act and the White House says Obama noted that since last year “more than 10 million Americans have gained the financial security and peace of mind that comes with having health insurance.”

Obama thanked those on the call for what he said were “extraordinary efforts to inform the public about their health care options.” The local efforts included a joint op-ed in Tennessee newspapers by the mayors of Knoxville, Chattanooga, Nashville and Memphis.

Obama was joined on the call by senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Jerry Abramson, director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The personal pitch comes as the 2015 enrollment season for marketplace health insurance opened Saturday, with no sign of the computer meltdown that marked the start of Obamacare in 2013.

But the program remains imperiled, with the Supreme Court earlier this month saying it will hear a new challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that could shape the future of the health exchanges set up under the law.

And Republicans have also seized on statements made by a former Obama health care advisor, Jonathan Gruber, that the law was deliberately designed to get past not only Congress, but the public.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest accused Republicans of looking to rehash “old political arguments” by bringing up the remarks, videotaped several years ago.

“It’s easier to talk about 6- and 8-year-old videos than it is to talk about how smoothly the opening of the second open enrollment has gone so far,” Earnest said.

  Comments