In a rare joint Oval Office appearance, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met with eight mothers this afternoon to discuss the Affordable Care Act. BlogHer was chosen to provide the pool report, giving us a close view of the event as they discussed the implementation of the new health care plan.
The president spoke first, and he didn't shy away from admitting that the online site was rife with problems. "Obviously, over the last couple of months, we had a rocky start with the website," he told the group of mothers. But amid the problems were also the plan's successes. "Despite that, we've seen hundreds of thousands of people signing up, more and more every single day."
Their goal, of course, is to increase that number to millions, and the president believes that two things are central to that goal: personal stories and the power of mothers.
On the importance of story, President Obama noted:
"Sometimes here in Washington, this is a very abstract conversation or an entirely political conversation. But when you boil it down to stories, and people hear what it means to have the security of solid health insurance at an affordable price when you need it, it reminds me at least of why we've been fighting so hard to get this done."
He is also counting on women -- mothers specifically -- to help bring their families and communities to the new health care system. Playing on the idea of "listen to your mother," he pointed out that mothers are known for being credible sources of information and for often making health care decisions in families.
After the president, the first lady spoke about what the Affordable Care Act can provide; namely, peace of mind. The plan is there not only for the health situations we know about today, but for the ones we can't predict down the road. She told the women in the room,
"This isn't about politics; it’s about making sure that every family has the peace of mind to know that if a child gets sick, or someone loses a job, or someone has an illness that requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage, that they’re going to have the safety net that they need to make sure that they don't lose their home, that they aren't spending the rest of their lives paying off medical fees."
She ended her quick speech with a vision of what America could be: a country that focuses on prevention while ensuring that when illness strikes, that families don't go bankrupt in the process of trying to treat the problem.
What part are you playing, as we go into 2014, to keep healthy in this upcoming year? Have you or do you plan to use the website to purchase insurance?
All images by Melissa Ford.
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