Obama traveled to the suburban backyard of a family home in Falls Church, Virginia, to talk about provisions of the new law that will take effect on Thursday, six months after it became law, and highlight his argument that healthcare reform will help control the U.S. budget deficit. “Sometimes I fault myself for not being able to make the case more clearly to the country,” Obama told the audience of about 30 people.
The event included Americans from across the country who are already benefiting from healthcare reform, the White House said, seeking to put a human face on a law that has seemed to many voters to be mostly a confusing array of new regulations. Participants in the event told their stories of health crises and benefiting from the law. Obama used their stories — of a woman who had cancer but could not get coverage until the new “high risk pool” started on July 1 or a woman who had not been able to buy an insurance policy to cover her son’s eye surgery — to strike back at the healthcare bill’s opponents. Obama underscored what he sees as the tie between the healthcare act and his plans to cut the budget deficit, after criticism that his focus on getting healthcare passed distracted from efforts to strengthen the stumbling economy. One provision that takes effect on September 23 lets parents keep their children on their health plans until their 26th birthday. The White House said up to 2.4 million young adults could gain coverage through their parents. Another is a measure barring insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Many Republicans and even some Democratic candidates are running against the healthcare overhaul as they campaign for the mid-term election on November 2, in which Republicans are expected to cut into the Democrats’ majorities in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.