U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant Liberty in Liberty, Missouri September 20, 2013. (Photo : REUTERS/Larry Downing)
President Obama delivered an impassioned, campaign-style speech defending his signature health care overhaul law on Thursday, while mocking his critics for spewing "crazy" arguments and trying to "blackmail a president" in order to block the law, reports the NYT.
Just days before its main elements take effect, the president slammed "irresponsible" congressional Republicans who have threatened to shut down the government or prevent a raise in the debt ceiling if the Affordable Care Act is not defunded.
"That's not going to happen as long as I am president," he said during an appearance at a community college, according to NBC News. "The Affordable Care Act is here to stay."
He added that he will not be "blackmailed" with threats of default.
"I won't negotiate on anything when it comes to the full faith and credit of the United States of America," he said.
Obama went on to quote New Hampshire state lawmaker Bill O'Brien, who called Obamacare "a law as destructive to personal and individual liberty as the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850."
"All this would be funny if it wasn't so crazy," he added.
The speech was the latest in the White House's push to publicize the new law before open enrollment begins next week.
"Of course, the closer we've gotten to this date, the more irresponsible folks who are opposed to this law have become," Obama said.
Proponents of the new law hope to convince consumers that the state-based "exchanges" will keep insurance costs low because of competition between plans. Critics say that premiums will ultimately be higher for average Americans and that insurance companies will eliminate existing plans that consumers want to keep.
Obama acknowledged Thursday that the rollout may not be completely smooth for every American and said Republicans are poised to publicize any "glitches" in the early implementation stage.
"Make up your own mind," he said. "I promise you if you go on the website and it turns out you're going to save a hundred, two hundred, three hundred dollars a month on your insurance - or you'll be able to buy insurance for the first time - even if you didn't vote for me, I'll bet you'll sign up for that health care plan."