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White House health-care campaign begins

By Shailagh Murray
The Obama administration's campaign to sell the new health-care law to a skeptical public is beginning to take shape, with a focus on short-term changes that kick in before the November midterm elections.

On Saturday, President Obama chose health care as the subject of his weekly radio address, passing over more immediate concerns like the oil spill, the attempted Times Square terrorist attack and the financial overhaul bill now before the Senate.

And in a May 10 letter to congressional leaders, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlined specific health-care benefits that are available now or will be soon -- in some cases ahead of schedule. The outreach effort was launched by the White House in recent weeks and aims to improve perceptions of the landmark legislation, while smoothing an implementation process that will take four years.

In his radio address, Obama noted provisions in the new law that will lower prescription drug costs for seniors, allow young adults to enroll in a parent's plan, and bar insurers from denying coverage to children based on medical history.

"We're seeing consumers get a break from unfair rate hikes, patients get the care they need when they need it and young adults get the security of knowing they can start off life with one less cost to worry about," Obama said. "At long last, this is what health-care reform is achieving."

In her letter to Congress, Sebelius reported that 30 states had informed HHS that they would run their own high-risk pools for individuals who have been denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions. These could function as precursers to the insurance exchanges that states will eventually establish for all uninsured residents. Eighteen states will participate in a federal program, Sebelius said.

On Monday, HHS issued new regulations to allow individuals under age 26 to remain covered under family policies. More than 65 insurers had agreed to implement the change before the Sept. 23 deadline, Sebelius said. The expanded coverage will increase average family policies by .7 percent, she said, and would reach about 1.2 million young adults.

An early retiree reinsurance program for individuals over age 55 will take effect on June 1, three weeks ahead of schedule, Sebelius stated. Under the program, participating companies will be partially reimbursed for coverage costs related to early retirees and their spouses, an incentive that could reduce uninsured rates for this vulnerable population.

Sebelius said the Internal Revenue Service had mailed postcards to 4 million small businesses with information about a new tax credit for such firms that provide coverage to their employees.

And she said the first rebate checks would be mailed on June 15 to an estimated 80,000 Medicare beneficiaries, who now qualify for more generous drug benefits under the bill.
Additional rounds of checks will be mailed every six weeks, Sebelius said, throughout the summer and fall.

By Shailagh Murray  |  May 11, 2010; 12:28 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Capitol Briefing  
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Comments

Kenya Boy wants this thing because deep inside, it has a provision for his own private ARMY that answers to him only. Check it out. Beware of the fancy talk in it.

Posted by: TexRancher | May 14, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

If this thing is so great, it will sell itself without the help from a Kenyan Born Anti-American, Anti-Constitution, Muslim who has spent nearly 2 million bucks to hide his true history!
When does the campaining stop?

Posted by: TexRancher | May 14, 2010 7:17 AM | Report abuse

Why the need for a hard sell? He's never going to convince the population who opposed it that the program is worthwhile. If it's so good, why Congress specifically exempt themselves? Sunshine and lollipops/they know whats good for us better than we do. The hard working people of this country are getting fed up of supporting the ones who feel they are entitled to a good life by doing nothing more than wasting good oxygen.

Posted by: 1SkyTrooper | May 14, 2010 1:52 AM | Report abuse

Obama is a typical left-wing "elite" who believes that American citizens just are not smart enough to understand how good his Obamacare bill is -- so he will take our time and money "explaining" in third-grade language how stupid we are. Sorry, Barry boy, you are stuck with a pitiful bill that will cost... and cost...and cost...and cost. And after 11/2/10, you will not control the House where all money bills have to pass through. Then, we'll see how much you love the bill with NO HOUSE BUDGET TO PAY FOR IT. Then, in 2012 Obama can go back to "community organizing" for his supper. Ta Ta, Barry

Posted by: RonKH | May 14, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama is not deaf dumb or blind, He just does not give a damn about what the people in this country think as long as he continues to move his own agenda. He thinks he has a place in the history books because of healthcare and true as that may be I dont think when it is all over it will be the kind of history he will be remembered for. He is a liar and he proves it every time he opens his mouth. He is the most self serving constitution shredder we have ever had in the White House and he does not deserve to be in the office he holds.

Posted by: Jemmottp | May 12, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Healthcare reform will save some 40,000 American lives each year, provide coverage for another 32 million which are freeloaders now, let our doctors and us decide what care we get not death-dealing insurance companies who claim some "pre-existing condition" to void coverage or just cancel policies when we get sick.

If you don't know what it does, go to:

http://dangerousintersection.org/2010/03/24/what-healthcare-reform-really-does-for-us/


If the Teabirthers and Republicans have their way, we'll go back to "don't get sick" and "die quickly" as our national healthcare policy.

Posted by: timothyhogan | May 12, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Lipstick is not even going to help this pig... Everyone who voted for it will soon be having a nice cup of tea!

Posted by: 2010Rout | May 12, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Ever notice how the administration never mentions the following:

1. Subsequent CBO reports that the bill will cost 115B more than expected.
2. Companies taking billion dollar charges.
3. Companies contemplating dropping health insurance and pushing employees to private exchanges.
4. Medicaid actuaries confirming costs will STILL RISE.
5. CBO actuaries independently reporting that costs will still rise as well as premiums.

Posted by: vrbjunk | May 12, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

What is being trumpeted as new benefits now available were things that would have passed in a more limited bill as well, they are the things both parties pretty much agreed on.
My concern is we are up fronting the taxes for a few years before most of the federal costs kick in but are spending the money as a general revenue stream now and when the higher cost items for the government hit, the money upfront that makes the reform sustainable is gone and the cost will not be cushioned like it appears to be in the budget . Post has an article today on how the gimicky accounting was done under costs may exceed trillion where was this kind of reporting before the bill passed?

Posted by: hoover2 | May 12, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd dare say the Obama sales pitch is turning into a panic after what happened to Alan Mollohan.

Posted by: wonderingstevie | May 12, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

ObamaCare is closely modeled after RomneyCare, the Massachusetts health care reform that was enacted in 2006.

I live in Massachusetts. The result of RomneyCare was that my premiums have gone up 44% this past year alone. This despite the fact that the three biggest insurers in MA are all non-profit organizations.

As a result, MA Governor Patrick is now experimenting with price controls (which lead to shortages) and rationing of care.

He's simply denying rate increases to insurers (even to non-profit insurers), which will drive them out of the state. He's also encouraging consumers to consider so-called "limited provider networks," in which you get a 20% discount on your premium--if you agree to get your care from community hospitals rather than from those "expensive" world-class teaching hospitals.

I fully expect that thanks to ObamaCare, the MA experience will now be repeated all across the country.

You can expect higher premiums, fewer insurers, and rationed care.

Posted by: sinz52 | May 11, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Is this current administration deaf, dumb and blind? Why aren't they focusing on what the majority of Americans are struggling with? Instead, President Obama and his cabinet would rather focus on how to increase taxes and create new taxes through this ridiculously flawed Health Care bill....These elitist's obviously don't believe the average American is intelligent enough to save/budget the money they've earned so the government wants to step in and help....Has the government implemented anything that hasn't created or increased our nation's deficit and worsened our debt? The goverment solution has especially this administration is to spend our money through taxation which will be passed down to our children and grandkids...Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had to be bailed out....The list goes on and on...Time to take it back and vote for individuals who actually have intregrity, morals, ethics...

Posted by: Rhonda5 | May 11, 2010 10:11 PM | Report abuse

hecorte...believe what you want and cast dispersions on the "obama haters" but they are absolutely right, he really screwed us on this one. To respond to your comment, I'm in the medical profession and know that this spells disaster. Sorry to burst your liberal bubble.

Posted by: tub74954 | May 11, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

" Obama noted provisions in the new law that will lower prescription drug costs for seniors, allow young adults to enroll in a parent's plan, and bar insurers from denying coverage to children based on medical history. "

Unfortunately, these limited positive changes will only benefit about twenty percent or so of people in this country and hardly anyone who is between twenty-seven and sixty-four. Obama and Democrats supporting the health care bill politically erred in not allowing significantly more of the reforms to go into effect this year. Had this happened, there would be more support and enthusiasm for the bill.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | May 11, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

As I read the comments by the Obama haters, I can't, for the life of me, understand the utter ignorance of most of them. I wonder how many have actually read the bill and, if they have, can they understand anything that they read? Their comments all seem to have been hatched from the eggs that Fox News and its hate machine keep laying.

Posted by: hecorte | May 11, 2010 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kitzdakat | May 11, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse


More on the healthcare reform reinsurance program created as part of the PPACA http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=2528

Posted by: JEngdahlJ | May 11, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Obama, if the Healthcare Bill is such a great deal, why don’t you and the rest of your ilk give up your private healthcare benefits and join the rest of us, Huh?

Posted by: jspivey5 | May 11, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

There is no defense for this bill or the methods used to force it on the American public. Funny, you didn't mention in your article that health care reform will cost BILLIONS more than promised. It will put a heavier burden on the taxpayer with higher taxes and higher premiums.

This article was written like a press release from the White House. Are you a watchdog or a lapdog?

Posted by: bethg1841 | May 11, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

As we learn more and more about the massive corrupt healthcare bill we learn more and more about the lies that Obama told us to get it passed. Every day we learn that the costs are going higher and higher, the taxes to support it more and more massive. We look at Greece and see that we are right behind that nation with a massive debt crisis from all of Obama's corrupt spending, and the massvive costs of the corrupt healthcare bill won't even start to kick in and overwhelm uf for several more years. If we avoid riots in the streets until then its hard to see how after those cost begin? Yet Obama goes on trying to sell us on the sticking rotting deal he and the arrogant left wing Elites forced on the nation against our will. Nov! Our last chance at sanity is in November!!!

Posted by: valwayne | May 11, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

As we learn more and more about the massive corrupt healthcare bill we learn more and more about the lies that Obama told us to get it passed. Every day we learn that the costs are going higher and higher, the taxes to support it more and more massive. We look at Greece and see that we are right behind that nation with a massive debt crisis from all of Obama's corrupt spending, and the massvive costs of the corrupt healthcare bill won't even start to kick in and overwhelm uf for several more years. If we avoid riots in the streets until then its hard to see how after those cost begin? Yet Obama goes on trying to sell us on the sticking rotting deal he and the arrogant left wing Elites forced on the nation against our will. Nov! Our last chance and sanity is in November!!!

Posted by: valwayne | May 11, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

The Obama "health care sales campaign" is just more propaganda.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Posted by: Nativsf1 | May 11, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Check out this hilarious parody commercial for Obamacare: http://www.funnyconservatives.com/?p=747

Posted by: buckrol | May 11, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Nothing can dress up this piece of garbage legislation. God willing, we can repeal it, replace it and save America. Vote out the democrats.

Posted by: annie321 | May 11, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

PLEASE tell US about the additional TAX BURDEN and REAL cost of Insurance AFTER 2014. Democrats voted for it, Democrats should pay MY share!!!

Posted by: markypolo | May 11, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

So, if your family policy is $500/mo, it will increase by 0.7% to $503.50 if the entire cost is absorbed by you. $42/year for dependent health insurance through the age of 26!

Course if they had a problem before, it would have cost you nothing because you would have told them to go it alone! Yeah, right!

Posted by: MikeC | May 11, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Obama and his coconspiritors are blowing smoke into the eyes of American citizens when they laud the good things about this ill conceived european socialized health law. The dificet reduction is gone; there is no mention of the costs savings citizens will have; premiums will increase; government by committee will stand between our doctor and the patient; medical proceedures will be limited even though requested; taxes will rise though hidden in the law and mandatory mandates will require citizens to purchase a product that is sponsored by the government like a brand of car. How can a president like Obama keep a straight face when he says the things he says. Creating a Nanny state through a socialist agenda is not what Americans want. Health is not a right. We chose whether we want to live healthy, government cannot legislate or regulate those choices.

Posted by: lhudson828 | May 11, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

jjdenton:
"It is great that millions of people in the richest nation in the world can now go to a doctor if they are sick."

I hate to break it to you, but there is not a single person in the U.S. who can now go to a doctor who could not go to a doctor before.

By existing law, no hospital could refuse to see a person because of lack of insurance or ability to pay.

In addition, hundreds if not thousands of non-profit clinics (like one run by one of my relatives) exist in nearly every city and state, clinics that will see patients for nearly any required level of care, regardless of their ability to pay. Clinics supported financially by people in their communities.

They only thing that this law did was transfer the power of health care decision making from local/state levels, to the federal level. Right where statist-progressives want the power to be....

Posted by: dbw1 | May 11, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

I noticed the author failed to mention that revised cost estimates for the health care bill have already erased the 'deficit reduction' that Obama & Nancy trumpeted would come from this legislation during the week of passage.

The "early-retiree" benefit the author mentions? Now predicted to be $15-$20 billion over it's estimated $5 billion cost included in the legislation. That's a 300% miss, folks, on one of the nearest-term components of the plan. And an AP article today revealed there is another $115 billion of costs for "admin costs" and such that was not included in the infamous CBO report that Nancy waived around.

Imagine your contractor telling you that, surprise, the cost of your new house he's going to build is now 15% higher than you thought it was going to be when you signed the papers. And he hasn't even broken ground yet....

Of course the cost overruns are not a surprise for us common-sense conservatives who beat our heads against the wall trying to tell people this was coming, when all they wanted to talk about was "the CBO report". And friends, if they already have found an extra $130 billion of costs a month after passage, how confident are you in their cost projections for 5-10 years from now? That's what I thought.

Give Democrats credit. They have big hearts. The problem is they have tiny brains, and concepts like "math" easily escape them....

Posted by: dbw1 | May 11, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

If your insurance rates have gone up you need to be calling your insurance company and ask why. In 2011 the law requires your insurance company to pay you rebates if they have not spent at least 80% of their premium payments on actual care and improved quality. Right now they cannot turn children with pre-existing conditions down and next year they cannot turn anyone with a pre-existing condition down. Right now your children can stay on your insurance plan to age 26. It is great that millions of people in the richest nation in the world can now go to a doctor if they are sick. Care and benefits will continue to improve for years ahead.

Posted by: jjdenton | May 11, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is the President still trying to sell a piece of legislation that he's already rammed through? Seriously folks, why?

I thought he was going to turn his eyes and mind and focus with a laser like intensity on getting more jobs available for Americans and yet the new unemployment numbers are now up to 9.9% unemployed and probably close to 20% under-employed. Even with these new numbers he's still trying to sell us on what at least half of us know isn't going to happen, at least not in the way he tells it or as cheaply as he says it will.

psst! It's all about votes in the coming mid-term elections where he fears that he may have done almost irreparable damage to his party in order to satisfy his own ego. Don't tell any one though!!

Posted by: Sproing | May 11, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

I became 55 years old on 2/25/55. I want to join The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program before 2/2011 when my subsidized COBRA expires. How can I avail of The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program before 2/2011?

Which insurance company will entertain The Early Retiree Reinsurance Program for an individual like me before 2/2011?

Please reply at my email ajain31@gmail.com
972-675-8178 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              972-675-8178      end_of_the_skype_highlighting Home or 972-207-9781 Mobile.

Thanks.
Ajay Jain
1209 Creekwood Drive
Garland, TX 75044-2421

Posted by: ajain31 | May 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Why is the President still trying to sell a piece of legislation that he's already rammed through? Seriously folks, why?

I thought he was going to turn his eyes and mind and focus with a laser like intensity on getting more jobs available for Americans and yet the new unemployment numbers are now up to 9.9% unemployed and probably close to 20% under-employed. Even with these new numbers he's still trying to sell us on what at least half of us know isn't going to happen, at least not in the way he tells it or as cheaply as he says it will.

psst! It's all about votes in the coming mid-term elections where he fears that he may have done almost irreparable damage to his party in order to satisfy his own ego. Don't tell any one though!!

Posted by: Sproing | May 11, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Wow, so this is reform? This is what I worked so hard for, this is what we HOPEed for, My rate went up 18% this year, my co-pay is up and my drug choices got WAY smaller. This guy lost it as far as I can see. This reminds me of the sh*t sandwich cartoon by Tom Tomorrow, google it, and sub bush for obama, there you have it. Bought and paid for by the lobbyists, insurance execs... we get the government we deserve, poor us.

Posted by: Richie12834 | May 11, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr President your Health Care Bill still smells like a 3 day old fish.

Posted by: akeegan2 | May 11, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Increases were coming either way. Every increase is approved by your state insurance board.

"We're seeing consumers get a break from unfair rate hikes,"

Examples please?

"patients get the care they need when they need it"

Examples please?

"and young adults get the security of knowing they can start off life with one less cost to worry about,"

The parents premiums have increased. So, the parents are paying rather than the child - big whoop.


Obama said. "At long last, this is what health-care reform is achieving."

Again - he said nice sounding words with no actual changes. Who is getting cheaper policies? Who is getting better care than they were a year ago? If parents want to get insurance for thier children, what was stopping them from purchasing it before?

Posted by: Holla26 | May 11, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

If your policy increased it's a greedy insurance company not Obama. Nothing happened yet. Why the increase????
Deal with it. You're on their side anyway if you're against reform.

Posted by: Vaiden | May 11, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Obama said ""We're seeing consumers get a break from unfair rate hikes, ..."

Someone please tell Obama that my rates INCREASED due to his stupid policy! I suspect more increases will follow since we are all in the same risk category: Old and dieing of a long-term illness.

Posted by: NO-bama | May 11, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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