Obama Goes on PR Offensive for Embattled Health Care Law

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WASHINGTON - It's been three years since Obamacare became the law of the land and the law is losing its luster. The president is trying to change that and prevent the law from being repealed in part or whole.

President Barack Obama addressed some of that uneasiness on Thursday in a speech at the White House, highlighting some of the more popular parts of his signature law.

**Some critics are asking as more questions are being raised about the law, what are the political implications for Democrats? CBN News White House Reporter Jennifer Wishon explains more, following this report.

The president was introduced by a woman who was reimbursed by her insurance company, thanks to Obamacare. The law requires insurers to spend at least 80 cents of every dollar on medical care or refund the difference.

Because of the new requirement $500 million rebates will go to nearly 9 million people. It's something the president is drawing attention to in an effort to boost his law's image.

"Affordable health care is not some privilege just for the few - it's a basic right that everybody should be able to enjoy," Obama said.

His efforts came one day after the House voted for the 38th time to eliminate, cut funding, or scale back the law.  As the government works to implement this incredibly complex law, officials are finding that it's not easy.

Already, the mandate that businesses provide coverage for their workers has been put on hold because new regulations made it too difficult for businesses to comply.

"For example, the employer mandate -- the requirement that businesses with 50 or more full time equivalent employees provide health insurance or pay penalties -- that was a three-and-a-half page provision that got turned into a 144 page regulation with 44 definitions," Kevin Kuhlman, with the Nat'l Federation of Independent Business, explained.

One study predicted Obamacare will put more than three million jobs in jeopardy. Even union bosses, who once supported the law, are now calling on Congress to fix it.

In a letter to Democrat leaders they wrote, the Affordable Care Act would "shatter not only our hard-earned benefits, but destroy the foundation of he 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class."

"We have a problem, " they insisted. "You need to fix it."

"This is gonna be a big lose, lose, lose..... Represent their interests," Phil Kerpen, president of American Committment, said.

For now confusion and uncertainty about the law is stifling economic growth.

"So there's a lot of heartburn and a lot of nervousness about what exactly the increased costs will mean for their bottom line," Kuhlman said.

President Obama maintains that Americans who like their insurance plan can keep it. But that's turning out not to be the case. According to a study of 11,000 plans on the individual market, less than 2 percent comply with Obamacare requirements.

That means 98 percent of plans must change or the people using them must find new plans.

And the Congressional Budget Office now estimates Obamacare will result in seven million Americans being dropped from their employer's health plans and forced into new health exchanges set up by the law.

"We're spending a lot of money and helping relatively few people. In many ways it probably would have been simpler and cheaper just to give everybody money to buy insurance," Michael Tanner, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, said.

President Obama on Thursday acknowledged that implementing this law won't be easy, applying uniformity to a tremendous number of insurance carriers across 50 states is a tall task. But the president said he's determined to "blow through" the challenge.

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CBN News
Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News White House Correspondent

Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.