(CBS NEWS) -- Acknowledging there will be "glitches" in the ongoing rollout of the
Affordable Care Act, President Obama on Thursday brought Obamacare
supporters to the White House to stress that the law is already saving
Obamacare, the president said, is "doing
what it's designed to do -- deliver more choices, better benefits, a
check on rising costs."
Because of a provision of the
health law already in effect, health insurance companies are required to
spend at least 80 percent of what consumers pay in premiums on health
care expenses, rather than profits or overhead. The "medical loss ratio"
rule has saved more than 77 million people as much $3.4 billion up
front on their premiums. On top of that, 8.5 million consumers are
receiving rebates averaging about $100 per family.
[insurance companies] are not spending your premium dollars on your
health care, at least 80 percent of it, they've got to give you some
money back," Mr. Obama explained.
He added, "I bet if you took a poll, most folks wouldn't know when this check comes in it's because of Obamacare."
In fact, an August 2012 poll
from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation found that 42 percent of
Americans were aware the medical loss ratio is part of the health care
law. As many as 62 percent of Americans said they approved of the idea
of requiring insurance companies to spend at certain percentage of
premiums on actual health care.
Polls from this year have shown that many Americans are still unfamiliar with the main elements of the Affordable Care Act, and the law remains controversial. A March 2013 CBS News poll showed that 35 percent of Americans approve of it, while 44 percent disapprove and 22 percent couldn't say.
continued uncertainty over the law explains why Republicans are intent
on once again making Obamacare a campaign issue and continue efforts to
dismantle it. The GOP-led House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to delay for a year
two main parts of the law -- including one part, the employer mandate,
which the Obama administration has already unilaterally decided to
delay. The administration says it's delaying the mandate, which requires
businesses with 50 or more employees to provide insurance for their
workers, so it can have more time to simplify the reporting
Mr. Obama on Thursday said the
administration is "steadily working through" the complications with the
law's implementation, including Republican resistance.
same was true when Medicare started," he said. "There were folks who
for political reasons resisted implementation, but once it got set up
said, 'This is a pretty good deal.'"
on Thursday also released data showing that premiums in the new health
insurance exchanges -- online marketplaces where consumers will be able
to purchase private insurance for next year -- will be nearly 20 percent lower
in 2014 than previously expected. The data is based on information
released from 11 states on the individual markets they are setting up in
their exchanges, as well as six states that have released information
on prices for the small group market.