Obama Discusses Health Care Overhaul at Organizing for Action Event

The president points out key changes to the health care system his administration has made.
3:00 | 11/04/13

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Transcript for Obama Discusses Health Care Overhaul at Organizing for Action Event
-- good evening. Lo Grasso reed's family. And I'm from. I'm excited to be here but I'm from Broward County Florida. And I've been -- -- pretty much for as long as I can remember. But a few years back I double down. Obamacare was in the air. The Tea Party with on the rise. And I was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer. I'd already been pushing boulders at the mountain to help my mom who had been. She found -- seriously injured a year earlier so when I got my diagnosis it was like a 12 punch. Never thought -- in. Someone obamacare was passed I knew how much. This would mean to people I couldn't sit back and let others just just try to dismiss -- I knew what it's like. I had to get the word out somehow I've volunteered -- defense. And I also saw that I just needed to sit down and talk to people I met him in their homes on the precinct leaders. I went with into community -- clinics and I told -- this Italian roll where you need to go. It gives them peace of mind to know -- insurance companies can no longer -- or eliminate. Benefits nor charged higher premiums. -- thank you look. People need that fat personal contact I found out. I think that we forget health care is personal. It must be handled that way -- is no other way. Washington isn't on the ground and our communities. We are we are our Brothers and sisters keepers. Yeah. I'm gonna keep on going on down and brown Larry like -- been -- and -- work for this reform again and again. And all work to support the agenda is champion our president. And despite every optical put in his way he's been a true leader. -- and I couldn't be more honored to call him my leader. And should introduce him to you now. Ladies and -- please join me and welcoming the president of the United States. -- -- -- -- Okay. -- -- -- -- -- -- And and thank you -- and I'm Leslie a big round of applause. As an example of folks on the ground who are just worked him. Day in day out you know through rain and I guess most known for about. Rain. Or hot sun. -- Yeah you know it's it's just a real -- to to have. Have somewhere like Leslie introduced because that's what. Not only. Health reform efforts all about but that's what our politics -- -- she's just a great example as are all of you. I wanna -- to leaders who've been. Not working really hard to do the same on behalf of people debates are personal Governor Deval Patrick -- and and congressman Eliot Engel. Who's been doing outstanding work the valley -- big round of applause. And I'm proud of being with all of -- -- Some of your groups were represented here have made it. Access to affordable health care -- issue. That's where you do you've been organizing. Even before I was president because you understood how important wants. Some you have made this the cause of your lives so today. I'm here to simply say thank you. We could not -- pass this law without it and we're not going to be able to get the job done without. -- as five years ago today that I had the honor being. Elected president. Remember. I had no gray hair and. Malia came up to here. Its -- was about here. And across so many fronts remain. Just incredible progress. In other areas we've still -- More work to do. But there's not a -- that goes by that I am not incredibly humble. By this extraordinary privilege to be able to serve. The American people. And it fills me with a resolve every time I meet folks like you each and every day fills me with -- result. To make sure that every minute every hour of every day that I'm in this office. I'm working hard to make sure that your lives your children's lives and grandchildren's lives are just a little bit better. And during the campaign. A major promise. A promise that by the end of my first term. I would have passed. Health Care Reform. Into law. I -- signed that bill and thanks to your help we did that we got it -- Well let's face -- lot of has been realized that. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But you know there's been so much noise and so much misinformation. And this incredible organized. Effort to block. The notion that her -- should have affordable health care in this country that. I think it's important for us to step back and take a look at what's already been accomplished. Because lot of times it doesn't make news. Controversies make news but what's happened quietly. Across the country over the last three years. Hasn't got a lot of attention. Fact lot of people who are benefiting. Don't even know. There because of -- the insurers insurance market now has. The strongest consumer protections. That this country's ever know. No more discriminate against kids with preexisting conditions. No more dropping your policy. When you get sick. No more lifetime limits on the care. That you can receive. All of that and more is part of a new patients bill of rights that's smack dab in the middle of the affordable care to and it's helping people right now. Because -- you. There are three. Because of 33 million young adults on this point -- They're getting coverage by staying on their parents plan right now including Leslie Islam. That happened because you because of you millions of seniors. On Medicare. Have saved hundreds of dollars on their prescription medicines it's already happened. They may not be aware of it but that's already taking place they're saving money. Because of the work that you did. More than a hundred million Americans -- gun free preventive care like mammograms and contraceptive here with a local pace. That's all part of the law. Because of -- millions of Americans. Will soon know the security of health care in some cases for the first time. In states where governors have chosen expand Medicaid. Under the affordable care Arkansas. Has covered almost 14% of its uninsured. Already think about that 14%. Of the uninsured in Arkansas are to cover. Just because of the work that you didn't organs covered 10% of its uninsured. Already Gus Morgan folks in the house. -- And you know what -- what's been encouraging is as you've got some conservative Republican governors who. In some cases have put aside politics to do the same they've recognized this is too good -- deal for the people of our state. For us to pass up even if it's not convenient politics for us and I'm problem for -- -- and I hope more -- -- because. Nobody deserves to be -- health care because -- And because of you. The Affordable Care Act created new marketplaces. Where Americans without health care and Americans who buy -- on their own. Can shop. And buy quality private insurance plans. Insurers in the marketplace can no longer use your medical history to charge you more -- got a preexisting condition. They've got to take it. Folks who've been sick for filing the same chance to buy quality affordable health care as everybody. That's happening because of you. A lot of folks are gonna qualify for new tax credits that all will immediately bring down the price even further. For young person who's. You know -- and several jobs until they find that one that -- That means there are mailed -- buy insurance that gives them the freedom to pursue. The careers that they want without fear that an illness or an accident will derail their dreams. And most. The young people in this country who don't have health insurance currently. In the mail to -- -- from less than their cell phone bill. Less than their cable bill that's happening because there. So what's important sometimes just step back and say aren't all that stuff is already happening a lot of it got under reported. Kind of crept up on people. And and and as we move forward you've got to keep that in mind not. There been some tough -- let's face it. You know the truth of the matter is is that -- ultimately health -- dot gov the website is going to be the easiest place to shop. Four and by these new plans. And it's getting faster and more stable it's not where it needs to be -- I'm not happy about it as you might imagine. I'm not happy about it because I know that. People need health care and this is the right place to get it. And or you're not happy about it because -- laws web sites not work in the way it should it makes it harder for you to help them get cover. And that's unacceptable amount taken responsibility to make sure -- gets fixed and it will be fixed. We're working overtime get a but in the meantime as you go back to your home states I just want to remind everybody that. They can still apply for coverage by phone. By mail. In person there was a time when the Internet didn't exist. They -- that long ago. You know a lot of programs like Medicare still operate the electronically and so there are ways for us to still work to make sure that people are getting. The opportunity to -- Affordable quality health care. And and and remember -- only one month into a six month open enrollment period. Everybody who wants to get insurance through the marketplace they'll be able to get it is not as if there's. You know -- visited one -- sale -- something. So we just gotta keep on working. Now the other news the people focused on lately -- do -- notices that some Americans have gotten. From their insurance companies suggesting that because we -- -- care act they may be losing the plan that they bought. Now while virtually every insurer is offering a new better plans. And competing for these folks business. I realize that can be scared for people -- -- -- get some notice like. So we've got to make sure the we're getting -- the right information remember the one of the reasons that we took up. Health Care Reform was not just to help the uninsured but also the under in short -- -- badly in short. People forget how unfair and unaffordable the status quo has been for millions of Americans. Millions of hardworking families who live in constant fear -- just one illness or accident could cost them their home. Or their life savings sometime by the way they don't know how vulnerable they are. Because when you look at the fine print. It turns up -- -- -- things that people think are covered aren't covered. We know because we heard the stories. Of people and I I've been paying premiums all these years and some -- have found out. That I've got all these out of pocket expenses that I can't afford. And -- on broke. That's -- what Health Care Reform -- about. We. Did this to put an end to the days when the individual market had almost no standards. When every year thousands of Americans would be dropped from their coverage. People are acting like. This is some new phenomenon. Every year there was churn in this individual market the average increase was double digits on premiums in the same market. Whether without affordable. The affordable care. People were getting oftentimes a very bad deal. And as a consequence what you -- as Americans would be dropped from coverage exposed to a massive double digit premium increases. For most frequently they just be denied access altogether because of some. A preexisting condition. Now if you have. Or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came in the law. And you really -- that plan. What we said was you could keep it. It hasn't changed since laws -- So we -- -- the Affordable Care Act. You're grandfathered in on the airplane but if the insurance company changes that. Then what we're saying is they've got to change it to a higher standard they've got to make a -- they've got to improve the quality of the plan of their cell. That's part of the promise that we made to that's. Why we went out of our -- to make sure that the law allowed for grand fathering but. If we have allowed these old plants to be downgraded -- -- sold to new enrollees wants the -- and already passed. -- we would've broken even more important promise. Making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn't leave them one illness away from financial world. The bottom line is is that. We are making the insurance market better for everybody. And that's the right thing to do. Had -- right after. Today that promise means that every plan in the marketplace has to cover course at a minimum benefits like maternity care -- preventive care. Mental health care prescription drug benefits hospitalization. Pre existing conditions like allergies -- Hartmann. Can't be an excuse. For you being charged more. Being a woman can't be used as an excuse. -- -- -- If -- couldn't afford coverage before for a child with asthma well now he's covered. If you're one -- one in five Americans with a mild illness -- covered. If you're a young couple couple -- expecting a baby. Congratulations. -- and by the way your company. So. So we shouldn't encourage any American who gets one these letters to shop around in the new marketplace now I recognize them as mobile web site. Isn't working as fast is it needs to makes it tougher and that makes -- scarier for folks we want them immediately to get the information that they need to understand they've got. More competition and more options. Now insurers are offering these new options. And they don't just want to keep their current policyholders. They want to cover the uninsured to. And because of the competition between insurers and new health care tax credits. Most people will be able to buy better plans for the same price or even cheaper than what they've gotten before. -- some Americans with a higher incomes will pay more on the front. For better insurance would better benefits. And better protections. That could eventually help them -- You've never even right now they'd rather be panelists. But nobody's gonna lose the rights and health insurance coverage nobody can be dropped altogether those days are over there are not coming back that happens because of the work that you did. So. Very well. This is the bottom line I don't intend telling you because you've been on from -- arms. Changes and he's appeared. Change in this area is especially hard because it touches on everybody. -- -- -- lives are impacted and it's a very personal issue. You know an emblem when your undertaken -- them this debate this important like Health Care Reform. We knew we -- -- to get resistance. Maybe not. For the same degree. As we've done but. But there's a reason why this hasn't -- unlawful. And by the way there's a reason why the opponents. Of this law throughout have never been able to actually offer a better alternative. Right initially they said they would. But -- did because it because they understand that it's hard. When he unexpected happen when when the element unanticipated happens. You know we're just -- work product will -- affects things that are work in the way you should be -- us move this thing out. And we're just gonna keep on going. We are gonna keep on going because it is too important to too many people not just in this generation but in future generations and we've got to make sure that we stay on track. -- -- -- -- I don't want any -- -- ever lose sight of why we got involved in this thing in the first place. We did -- for every mother who's desperate. Because of a child with a preexisting condition. We -- here every hardworking American -- forced to give up their insurance. And hang. His or her for fortunes on chance. We did it for the same reason -- -- did. Because of our own experiences. -- -- -- under our broken health care system. We decided -- we need to build something better no matter how hard it is and here's the thing. You know every day there are new stories to tell I hear them every single day and I know you do to. When you help folks -- -- -- new plants. We help small business owners cover their workers for the first time. When -- helping young woman who get the coverage that she deserves you know a couple weeks ago I got a letter from Jeffrey tough Lexington Kentucky. Currently Jeffrey and his girlfriend -- 15100 dollars a month to cover their family of six. Once the marketplace is open his girlfriend went on line -- new plan. -- cut their monthly cost by more than half drop their deductible from 3000 dollars to 500 dollars. So he told me in his letter that. It breathed life back into our family we can't wait until January 1. He says defeat could give one message to the American people as this it works Obama care is working for peace. Illustrate stories like Jeffords may not get all the media attack. But -- why we did this. To what we're fighting for and I know -- -- them too so I'm asking all of you to go out there and share these stories foreign -- Because nothing -- them. Bunch of folks spreading fear and misinformation. Confusion and cynicism. About this law we've we've been facing met for four years. We're used to that. What's new is that today -- -- Americans with health care for the very first time. Today there are Americans whose lives have been saved by preventive care that they would have gotten before. Today there -- Americans who can breathe. Easy again. Free from the crushing fear that enormous or accident means they lose everything. So the rhetoric of reform is becoming the reality. We're not going back. So just remember -- I've run my last political campaign. But I'll tell you what we've got got one more campaign and the campaign to make sure that this law works for every single person America. Need your help to implement those long. I need your help to educate folks about this long. Keep knocking on doors making phone calls and prevalent all across your thanks. For over a century and help them -- -- in this conflict the security of affordable healthcare is a privilege. Is not a -- legitimate -- -- making them right reality. Make sure that all of -- stay on that you're gonna have me every step of the way government.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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