KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Offers Spirited Health Law Defense, Pledges To ‘See It Through’

President Barack Obama, speaking in Boston, appeared "contrite" about health law difficulties, but he took a hard line against the continuing GOP criticism.

The New York Times: Contrite White House Spurns Health Law’s Critics
The White House on Wednesday blended expressions of contrition for the troubled rollout of its health care law with an aggressive rejection of Republican criticism of it, as the administration sought a political strategy to blunt the fallout from weeks of technical failures and negative coverage. While Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, apologized profusely during a politically charged hearing on Capitol Hill, President Obama traveled to Massachusetts to argue forcefully that the Affordable Care Act will eventually be just as successful as the similar plan pioneered by Mitt Romney, his onetime rival and a former governor of the state (Shear and Pear, 10/30).

Politico: Obamacare's Split-Screen Day
President Barack Obama’s prescription for health care law critics: Take a deep breath — and move on. Never mind that House Republicans have beaten up on two of his top health officials on consecutive days; that one of them, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, faces new calls to resign seemingly every day; or that the Obamacare website crashed while Sebelius was testifying on the Hill Wednesday (Allen and Budoff Brown, 10/31).

The Washington Post: Obama On Health Care Law: ‘We Are Going To See It Through’
President Obama delivered a spirited defense of his health-care law Wednesday in the face of problems with the launch of its online insurance marketplace, vowing that “we are going to see it through.” In a speech in Boston, Obama took responsibility for making sure that problems with the Web site,, are fixed as soon as possible (Rucker and Branigin, 10/30).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Obama Claims ‘Full Responsibility’ For Health Care Website Fixes As Security Concerns Surface
Obama underscored the administration’s unhappiness with the problems so far: “There’s no excuse for it,” he said during a Boston speech to promote his signature domestic policy achievement. “And I take full responsibility for making sure it gets fixed ASAP.” The website was still experiencing outages as Sebelius faced a new range of questions at the House Energy and Commerce Committee about a security memo from her department. It revealed that the troubled website was granted a temporary security certificate on Sept. 27, just four days before it went live on Oct. 1 (10/30).

Bloomberg: Obama Says Health Law Critics ‘Grossly Misleading’
President Barack Obama defended his health-care law, saying the flawed online insurance exchange will get fixed and accusing critics of “grossly misleading” the public about how the program works. Speaking at a rally in Boston yesterday, Obama said the experience of Massachusetts with the start of its health-care system in 2006 shows that the federal version, passed in 2010, will succeed (Talev, 10/31).

CBS News: Amid Obamacare Controversies, States Keep Up Medicaid Debate
As he defended his health care law in Boston on Wednesday, Mr. Obama criticized the Republican governors who've rejected the Medicaid expansion, charging they "are so locked into the politics of this thing that they won't lift a finger to help their own people." "That's a shame," Mr. Obama said. "If they put as much energy into making this thing work as they did into attacking the law, Americans would be better off” (Condon, 10/31).

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