State of the Union: Obama urges consumers to enroll

In his State of the Union speech Tuesday night, President Barack Obama used the national stage to address a key issue for insurers in the post-reform market--enrolling more consumers in health insurance exchanges.

"I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to tell them to get covered by March 31," Obama said. "Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application."

In an apparent plea to encourage young adults--the key consumer demographic for insurers and reform success--to obtain health coverage, Obama said, "health insurance reform is all about the piece of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don't have to lose everything."

Obama also recognized Gov. Steve Beshear, the Democratic governor of Kentucky, whose state boasts one of the most successful exchanges in the country with 116,000 enrollees as of December. Obama called Beshear "a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth's families" because "they're our neighbors and friends."

But not everyone in Kentucky supports Obama's health reform efforts. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Affordable Care Act actually is slowing economic recovery in the state, which has seen "restricted access to doctors and hospitals, lost jobs, lower wages, fewer choices, (and) higher costs," reported USA Today.

Obama, in the State of the Union address, also called on Republicans to accept the reform law and stop trying to repeal or replace it--only one day after GOP senators introduced a legislative framework to revoke the ACA and replace it with alternative solutions.

"I do not expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law," Obama said. "But I know the American people are not interested in refighting old battles ... let's not have another 40-something votes to repeal a law that's already helping millions of Americans."

To learn more:
- here's the speech transcript
- see the USA Today article (video included)

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