Obama stumps for PPACA in Boston

President Obama (AP photo/Evan Vucci) President Obama (AP photo/Evan Vucci)

BOSTON (AP) — President Barack Obama chose the site where Massachusetts' health care system became law to promote Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) programs.

The Massachusetts health finance program has been a model for PPACA.

The Massachusetts program faced setbacks and low enrollment when it started, but, in time, it gained popularity and became a success, Obama said Wednesday in Boston.

"All the parade of horribles, the worst predictions about health care reform in Massachusetts never came true,"  Obama said. "They're the same arguments that you're hearing now."

Obama spoke in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. In 2006, then Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, a Democrat, came together in the same location for the signing of the Bay State's health care overhaul bill.

Obama said important benefits are already available under PPACA. He cited a ban on use of health information in insurers' decisions on whether to issue coverage to children, and another provision that lets young people stay on their parents' insurance plans until they turn 26.

But he conceded that the federal exchanges have had problems since their 2014 coverage open enrollment period began Oct. 1.

As Obama was speaking in Boston, a notice on the HealthCare.gov exchange enrollment site said the site was down due to technical difficulties.

"I am not happy about it," Obama said of the rocky HealthCare.gov launch.

Obama also acknowledged that some Americans may face policy cancellations.

Obama said policies are changing due to new requirements that will ensure that all Americans can get quality coverage.

Because of government subsidies, most of the people who must get new policies will pay less than they do now, but "a fraction of Americans with higher incomes" will likely pay more," Obama said.

Romney took issue with Obama's characterization of the Massachusetts health care law. In a statement, he said "had President Obama actually learned the lessons of Massachusetts health care, millions of Americans would not lose the insurance they were promised they could keep, millions more would not see their premiums skyrocket and the installation of the program would not have been a frustrating embarrassment."

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Romney pledged to work for the repeal of PPACA.

Associated Press writer Steve LeBlanc in Boston contributed to this report.

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