President Obama is in Boston today, and is about to speak about the Massachusetts health reform, and about Obamacare. Mitt Romney found out about the speech, and took to the forum every dismally defeated Republican turns to, Facebook. He wrote there:
In the years since the Massachusetts health care law went into effect nothing has changed my view that a plan crafted to fit the unique circumstances of a single state should not be grafted onto the entire country. Beyond that, had President Obama actually learned the lessons of Massachusetts health care, millions of Americans would not lose the insurance they were promised they could keep, millions more would not see their premiums skyrocket, and the installation of the program would not have been a frustrating embarrassment. Health reform is best crafted by states with bipartisan support and input from its employers, as we did, without raising taxes, and by carefully phasing it in to avoid the type of disruptions we are seeing nationally.Yeah, whatever. It didn't work in 2012, and it's not working now.
Gov. Deval Patrick is speaking now, and President Obama will shortly follow.
1:03 PM PT: Obligatory shout-out to the Red Sox. Hard to imagine him in a beard.
1:04 PM PT: Says he's in MA because it was here that a bipartisan group, with Romney, Sen. Ted Kennedy and the legislature launched health insurance reform that works.
The remainder of the liveblog is below the fold.
1:05 PM PT: Keystone pipeline protesters briefly interrupt.
1:07 PM PT: The early implementation of health insurance reform in MA wasn't immediately successful, Obama says. He talks about how long it took to get large numbers of enrollments. "Today, there is nearly universal coverage in Massachusetts, and the vast majority of people are happy with their coverage."
1:09 PM PT: "I've always believed that when [Romney] was here as governor, he did the right thing." Massachusetts became the model for the national law. Talks about consumer protections under the law: "a true patients' bill of rights." No more discriminating against kids with preexisting conditions, dropping people when they get sick, lifetime limits, people can get screenings and preventive care without copay and young people can stay on their parents plans. That's all working now.
1:11 PM PT: Talks about the marketplace, the exchange, and how that's creating competition, affordability. Talks about the security and the freedom that always having an option for getting health insurance will create. "The deal is good, the prices are low."
1:12 PM PT: The web site is a problem, but ultimately it will be the best place to shop. "There's no denying it. The Web site is too slow, people keep getting stuck. And I'm not happy about it.... I'm taking responsibility for it." But it's getting fixed.
1:14 PM PT: Talks about other options for applying while web site is glitchy. "I'm old enough to remember when there was no such thing as a web site." But we know that it will get fixed and we know it'll work because it's worked in MA. So far, choice and competition are keeping prices even lower than we predicted.
1:16 PM PT: For a nuanced conservative take on the speech.
1:17 PM PT: Hits Republicans: They are "so locked into the politics...that they won't lift a finger to help their own people."
1:21 PM PT: Talks about attacks that people are being kicked out of insurance. "Before the ACA, these bad apple insurers had free rein" to screw you with crappy insurance. "Before the ACA, these insurers dropped people by the thousands every year... premiums shot up every year." On "keeping your insurance": since the law was passed, if insurers decided to cancel or change these plans, they had to comply with the strict requirements of the law. The old abuses can't happen any more. The underinsured are getting better insurance. "If you're getting one of these letters, just shop around in the new marketplace. That's what it's for."
1:22 PM PT: "No one is losing his right to health care coverage.... Those days are over."
1:29 PM PT: "It's hard, but it's worth it. It's the right thing to do. We're going to keep moving forward. We're going to keep working to make it better just like you did in Massachusetts.... Just like we did with Medicare Part D.... Democrats weren't about to punish millions of seniors just to make a point."
1:35 PM PT: "We are going to see this through.... As a country, we can accomplish great things that we can't accomplish alone... That's what health care reform is about and that's what America is about...."