MS. BAKER: Hello. My name is Janice Baker. Ihavethe privilege to say that I'm the first person inthe state of Delaware to enrollfor health insurancethrough the new marketplace. (Applause.) Like manyconsumers out there, it took me a number offrustratingattempts before I could apply for andselect my plan. I kept trying because I needed accessto thenew health care options.
I had applied to three privateinsurancecompanies only to be rejected due to preexistinghealthconditions. I am too young for Medicare,but I'm too old not to have some health issues. Iwas able to find a policy I am thrilled with, saving $150 a month, andmuch lower deductiblesthan my previous policy that I held through my smallbusiness.
I'm here today to encourage otherpeople like me who needs access to quality, affordableinsurance, and to tellthem to have patience with such a new system. Without this ability toget this insurance, Iknow that a single hospital stay could have bankrupted me and mybusiness.
Thank you all. And I am now honored to introduce thePresident of the United States. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Great job.
MS. BAKER: Thank you. Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you,everybody. Well, thank you, Janice.And thanks to everybody here for coming onthis beautiful day. Welcome to the WhiteHouse.
About three weeks ago, as thefederal government shut down, the Affordable Care Act'shealth insurancemarketplaces opened for business across the country. Well, we've now gottenthe government backopen for the American people, and today I want to talk about how we'regoing toget the marketplaces running at full steam, as well. And I'm joined today by folks whohave eitherbenefited from the Affordable Care Act already, or who are helping their fellowcitizenslearn about what this law means for them and how they can get covered.
Of course, you've probably heardthat HealthCare.gov –- the new website where people canapply for healthinsurance, and browse and buy affordable plans in most states –- hasn'tworkedas smoothly as it was supposed to work. And the number of people who have visitedthe site has beenoverwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems.
Despite all that, thousands ofpeople are signing up and saving money as we speak. ManyAmericans with a preexisting condition,like Janice, are discovering that they can finally get healthinsurance likeeverybody else.
So today, I want to speak toevery American who's looking to get affordable healthinsurance. I want you to know what's available to youand why it may be a good deal for you.And for those who've had some problems with the website, I want to tellyou what we're doingto make it work better and how you can sign up to getcovered in other ways.
But before I do that, let meremind everybody that the Affordable Care Act is not just awebsite. It's much more. For the vast majority of Americans -- for 85percent of Americanswho already have health insurance through your employer orMedicare or Medicaid -– you don'tneed to sign up for coverage through awebsite at all. You've already gotcoverage. What theAffordable Care Actdoes for you is to provide you with new benefits and protections that havebeenin place for some time. You may not knowit, but you're already benefiting from theseprovisions in the law.
For example, because of theAffordable Care Act, young people like Jasmine Jennings, andJessica Ugalde,and Ezra Salop, all of whom are here today, they've been able to stay ontheirparents' plans until they're 26. Millions of other young people are currently benefiting fromthat part ofthe law. (Applause.) Another part of the Affordable Care Act isproviding seniors withdeeper discounts on their prescription medicine. Billions of dollars have been saved byseniorsalready. That's part of thelaw. It's already in place. It's happening right now.
Already, because of theAffordable Care Act, preventive care like mammograms and birthcontrol are freethrough your employers. That's part ofthis law. (Applause.) So there are a widerange of consumerprotections and benefits that you already have if you've got healthinsurance.You may not have noticedthem, but you've got them, and they're not going anywhere. Andthey're not dependent on a website.
Here's another thing that theAffordable Care Act does. In stateswhere governors andlegislatures have wisely allowed it, the Affordable CareAct provides the opportunity for manyAmericans to get covered under Medicaidfor the first time. So in Oregon, forexample, that'shelped cut the number of uninsured people by 10 percent just inthe last three weeks. Thinkaboutthat. That's 56,000 more Americans whonow have health care. (Applause.) That doesn'tdepend on a website.