Jay Carney: Health Care Law Worth It, No Matter Political Consequences

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Affordable Care Act

On the eve of Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (pictured) brushed back criticism of the President’s health care law, arguing that it is worth the political consequences.

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“This is not about politics,” Carney said during a White House interview with ABC News’ “This Week,” when asked about the risk of losing the Democratically controlled Senate to Republicans during the upcoming midterm elections. “So the answer is, it is absolutely worth it, no matter what happens politically.

“I just disagree that Republicans are going to have a winning issue on this if they decide to run on it, because they’ve got to explain what repeal means,” he added.

Still, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday found that 59 percent of Americans disapproved of the way the Affordable Care Act has been implemented.

And Sunday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) Sunday called on the President to apologize during his State of the Union Address to Americans who have lost their health insurance under the new law.

“For the State of the Union, one of the things President Obama really oughta do is look in the TV camera and say to the over 5 million Americans all across this country who’ve had their health insurance canceled because of ObamaCare, to look in the camera and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Cruz said on CBS’s Face the Nation. Additionally, he said Obama should offer fixes for the law.

On Tuesday, President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Address before a divided Congress. And according to the Associated Press, he will signal that while he will seek compromise on some priorities, he will also look at executive orders that can be enacted without congressional approval. Some issues include reviving a bipartisan immigration bill that has passed the Senate, an increased minimum wage, or expanding prekindergarten programs.

“The President sees this as a year of action to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary,” Carney said, according to the AP.

Technical glitches have plagued the enrollment of healthcare.gov since its Oct. 1 launch, but most of the problems have been repaired and more than 2 million people have signed up for private insurance. The White House hopes to have an estimated 7 million people enrolled by March 31, the deadline for coverage under the law.

The measure has proven to be a boon for African Americans. Like other racial and ethnic minorities, the law addresses inequities and increases access to quality, affordable health coverage, addressing prevention and wellness, and gives individuals and families more control over their care.

Blacks suffer from higher rates of a range of illnesses and the highest mortality rate of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers individually, including stomach, liver, prostate, and colon cancers, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

But Republicans, like Cruz, have seized on the flawed rollout of the program and hope to keep Americans focused on the challenges of Obamacare and the economy for midterm elections. And they bristled at Obama’s threat to use his executive powers.

“The President has sort of hung out on the left and tried to get what he wants through the bureaucracy as opposed to moving to the political center,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP Senate leader.

After the State of the Union, the President plans to travel to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Tennessee to promote proposals he plans to introduce Tuesday evening, the AP reports.

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