Since Barack Obama first came to office with plans to reform the country’s healthcare system, conservative critics have derogatorily branded his policies as “Obamacare.”
Speaking today in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, the President pushed back by embracing the term.
“I have no problem with folks saying ‘Obama cares’,” he told the crowd. “I do care.”The President devoted much of his time to discussing one of the key components of the legislation: the so-called “individual mandate” which would require most people to purchase some form of health insurance.
Obama slammed his Republican critics, and in particular the former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, for having backed away from what was once their own idea.
“This used to be a Republican policy,” he told the audience. “Suddenly it’s like they’ve got amnesia.” Then, in a mocking tone he mimicked his critics: “Oh, this is terrible! This is going to take away our freedom!”
The President also took his first public questions about the recent judicial ruling that pretty much ensures “Obamacare” will wind up before the Supreme Court. One audience member asked what “contingency plans” were in place in case the “conservative” Supreme Court declared the individual mandate unconstitutional.
Obama was bullish about the chances of that element being maintained. “If the Supreme Court upholds precedent, it should be upheld without a problem,” he said. “If it does not, then we’ll have to manage that when it happens.”
The President said that even if the individual mandate component was struck down, there would still be plenty in the bill to help ensure “insurance companies don’t jerk you around.” He listed “fine print” issues, the ending of “lifetime caps,” and the tackling of “preexisting condition” disclaimers as key “patients’ rights” that would stay even if the individual mandate was lost.
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