Obama: Affordable Care Act Has ‘Real Problems’

President Obama says his signature domestic policy, the Affordable Care Act, needs some fixes.

“In my mind the [Affordable Care Act] has been a huge success, but it’s got real problems,” Obama said in an interview with New York Magazine published Sunday.

The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, created a new marketplace, known as the exchanges, which many insurers have struggled to adapt to. Several insurers have said they won’t offer marketplace plans next year, and the retreat of major insurers including UnitedHealth, Aetna and Humana in recent months have highlighted some of the shortfalls of the law.

In the interview, Obama suggested ways the marketplace could be improved: “They’re eminently fixable problems in terms of strengthening the marketplace, improving the subsidies so more folks can get it, making sure everybody has Medicaid who was qualified under the original legislation, doing more on the cost containment,” he said.

The interview follows an article Obama penned earlier this year in the Journal of the American Medical Association, in which he suggested that legislators increase federal financial assistance for marketplace consumers and implement a public option in regions competition is lacking in the individual market. Then too, he called for the remaining states that have not expanded Medicaid to do so.

Members of both parties agree that changes are necessary, though most Republicans would opt to repeal and replace the law, while more and more Democrats are rallying around adding a public option. While those extremes would be difficult for either party to accomplish unless they have control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, some Republicans are starting to indicate they may be open to talking about some fixes should Hillary Clinton become president.

Democrats have said they want to work with Republicans to strengthen the law, but with Obama in office, Republicans have stuck to a “repeal and replace” mantra, making it difficult to pass any significant updates to the law.

“But you hit a point where if Congress just is not willing to make any constructive modifications and it’s all political football, then you’re getting a suboptimal solution,” Obama said.

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