Universal access” to affordable, high-quality health insurance has joined the opportunity for jobs, college and retirement as part of the American dream, President Barack Obama told healthcare advocates in Washington. And that change, he said, was due to enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 10 months ago. “This is making a real difference to families' access to healthcare across this country as we speak,” Obama said in a speech at the annual meeting of Families USA. Republicans have countered such assertions of universal access under the new law by highlighting the fact that even its supporters acknowledge it will leave millions of Americans without insurance. Obama praised the positive impacts of the law he championed but repeated his willingness to consider some “tweaks,” including “patient-safety innovations” and medical malpractice reforms, echoing his State of the Union address delivered earlier in the week (See story, p. 8). However, Obama maintained that he will not “move backward” by allowing repeal or replacement of significant parts of the law. The president's healthcare-focused speech came as he and congressional Democrats said leaders should turn toward bringing down unemployment and the national debt rather than rehash the healthcare debate.
Late News: Reform 'making a real difference to families': Obama
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