Obama to tout Affordable Care Act on Thursday

With concerns mounting about the viability of his signature health-care law, President Obama on Thursday is planning to highlight some of the more popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act with remarks at the White House.

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Obama is expected to focus on insurance company rebates that will be mailed to 8.5 million U.S. households this summer. The rebates, which average about $100 per family, are a result of a provision of the law that requires insurers to spend at least 80 percent of the premium dollars they collect on medical care, rather than executive salaries or marketing. Companies that fail to meet that standard must provide rebates to customers.

"This is just one of the many ways the Affordable Care Act is giving consumers a better value for their health care dollar and making our health care system stronger," White House spokesman Jay Carney said during a Wednesday press briefing.

Obama's remarks come two weeks after the administration announced it was delaying a key provision of the law -- the requirement that companies extend health insurance to their full-time staff. The delay has set off speculation that the law's implementation is not going as planned, with less than three months left before uninsured Americans are supposed to be able to start signing up for health plans and applying for discounts under the law.

The administration's decision to delay the employer mandate also has emboldened House Republicans, who as early as this evening may vote on their own bills to put off parts of the law. It will mark the 38th and 39th times the House GOP has tried to repeal or change the law. Obama has said he would veto both bills.

Sandhya Somashekhar is a health reporter for the Washington Post.
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