Mardell: Obamacare gets a relaunch amid attacks

President Barack Obama appears at the White House in Washington DC on 3 December 2013 President Barack Obama said there was no "going back" on his signature healthcare law

As so often, President Barack Obama recited case studies of those who will be helped by the Affordable Care Act.

But the standing ovation, from the carefully invited audience, came when he said, "We are not going back," and that while he was president, the law would not be repealed.

It is his strongest argument. At the moment Obamacare is still very vulnerable and Republicans will not let go of a good thing - they are expected to roll out a series of attacks, responding to fresh glitches or new weaknesses.

But they don't have a coherent plan. They look like "the party of 'no'".

They hate Obamacare, but they don't say what they would put in its place.

'Poor execution'

Start Quote

Nobody should have to choose between taking their kids to the doctor and putting food on the table”

End Quote Barack Obama US President

Few objective observers think the American healthcare system was working well before Mr Obama. It is too expensive and too many people are uncovered.

Even if the new law turns out to be really flawed, the people who've been given free care under states' expanded Medicaid schemes won't look kindly to anyone who wants to take it away from them.

It is maybe the wrong time in the political cycle to expect conservatives to come up with their own plans, but not having one may prove to be a liability.

Obamacare will probably suffer a lot more problems, but for now Democrats may feel confident enough to return to the attack.

Call it what you like, but this was a relaunch. Mr Obama apologised for the "poor execution" of the healthcare website, and said that any start-up this big would face problems - and they would be fixed.

But his main aim was to divert our gaze from the messy problems of the past onto the prize.

"Nobody should have to choose between taking their kids to the doctor and putting food on the table," he declared.

Mark Mardell Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell Presenter, The World This Weekend

Could Blue Labour capture party's soul?

The Blue Labour movement could yet play a key role in determining the party's future, says the BBC's Mark Mardell.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.