President Barack Obama defended the Affordable Care Act during a speech in Florida, where he touted the successes of "Obamacare" and decried mostly Republican critics of the landmark healthcare legislation.
Obama singled out Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida for being one of 18 governors who has refused to implement the ACA. If Scott had allowed the ACA in Florida, Obama claimed that 700,000 more people would be insured in the Sunshine State and 4 million more nationwide, reported NBC News.
Obama admitted that the ACA is not without problems, including price increases on premiums as high as 50 percent in states like Arizona and 67 percent in Minnesota, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. And Obama acknowledged that insurance companies have been leaving the ACA exchanges because they're not satisfied with their profit margins and are under no obligation to conform to the ACA.
Obama said he'd be open to Republican suggestions on how to fix those problems, even if they want to take the president's namesake off the legislation's nickname.
"They can even change the name of the law to Reagancare," Obama said, according to NBC News. "Or they can call it Paul Ryancare," Obama added, referring to the Republican House Speaker. "I don't care about credit. I just want it to work."
Obama has also recently suggested a public option to provide competition to health insurance providers that have raising increases on patients, but Republicans quickly criticized that idea.
"Their solution is a so-called public option, which will eventually lead to a single-payer, government-run system that would put your family's health care in the control of unelected bureaucrats in Washington," said Republican Rep. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, according to the Washington Examiner. "In other words, their solution to a failed government plan is more government plans."
The public option was scrapped in 2009 as the ACA was being debated after five Democrats joined with all of the Republican Senators to vote down the idea, reported The Huffington Post. The White House didn't continue to fight for it and the ACA was put into effect based entirely on private insurers and on the expansion of Medicare and Medicaid.
But people are now feeling the effects of that decision in their pocketbooks.
“These rising insurance rates are unsustainable and unfair,” said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “This is a real emergency situation.”