(The Root) — In an event timed to coincide with this weekend's Mother's Day holiday, President Obama delivered remarks on Friday touting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act while joined onstage by women and families who had stories about how they'd benefited from the health care legislation, which was signed into law just over three years ago.
The president, speaking in the East Room, was introduced by Carol Metcalf, who said that her two sons had a rare disease. When they approached the age limit for the family's health care plan, they faced the possibility of not being able to get health coverage because of their disease. "We had a huge worry lifted" when the ACA was signed into law, she said.
The president's remarks aimed in part to clear up misconceptions about the implementation of the legislation and highlight the Oct. 1 availability of "an online marketplace," where, he said, uninsured Americans will be able to go to select insurance plans.
An excerpt from his speech:
Basically, there are two main things that the American people need to know about this law and what it means. First, if you're one of the nearly 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance — whether it's through your employer, or Medicare or Medicaid — you don't have to do a thing. This law already provides you with a wide array of new benefits, tough new consumer protections, stronger cost-control measures, than existed before the law passed. And those things are already in place — you're benefiting from, you just may not know it. Making sure that insurers can't take advantage of you. Making sure that your child can stay on your health insurance until they're 27 years old. So a lot of those provisions are already in place providing help and assistance to people all across the country.
Now, second, if you're one of the tens of millions who don't have health insurance, beginning this fall, you'll finally be able to compare and buy quality, affordable private plans that work for you. [Applause.] So that's what you need to know. If you've already got health insurance, this has just enhanced it. And if you don't, you're going to be able to get it.
For three years now, this law has provided real and tangible benefits to millions of Americans. Women in particular now have more control over their own care than ever before. And I'm pleased to be joined today by many women who wrote in to tell us what the Affordable Care Act means to them.
Pushing back on both legal and political opposition to the legislation, he declared the ACA "here to stay" and encouraged the audience to "get the right information" versus "commentary from some pundit that has a political agenda" about how it would affect them.
"Don't let people confuse you," he warned, to laughter from the audience. "Don't let them run the okey-doke on you. Don't be bamboozled."