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(NECN: Ally Donnelly) – President Obama will be in Boston Wednesday, and his visit has nothing to do with the Red Sox. He’s coming to town to promote his health care law and ask for the patience of the American people as his administration deals with many problems crippling the government’s health care website.
In April 2006, Faneuil hall was the setting where then-Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney, signed into law a first in the nation health care reform. The republican governor was flanked by supporters from both political parties.
In 2006, John McDonough was the executive director of health care for all, an advocacy group that helped Massachusetts residents sign up for coverage.
“This was from top to bottom a bi-partisan effort and that's probably the most distinguishing factor between Massachusetts health reform and what's happening with the affordable care act,” McDonough says.
Seven years later, White House officials say President Obama will use Faneuil Hall as a back drop to point to the success that Massachusetts has had in expanding health care insurance to nearly all of its residents, despite there being a lack of bi-partisan support for the federal plan.
“It’s time to fix this before it gets any worse,” John Boehner has said.
In Boston, Obama is expected to argue that's where the differences between the federal and bay state experiences end.
Website glitches aside, the White House cites Massachusetts as an example of how consumers waited months before they enrolled in health care plans.
“What questions do they have about the affordable care act,” asks Kate Bicego.
She oversees health care for all's call center.
“A little over 200 people enrolled in the first month of our launch here in Massachusetts, but that quickly picked up,” she says.
“Initially people who came in right away tended to be people who were older and sicker and more likely to have a chronic illness and in need of regular medical attention and that created some concerns and worries of, oops we are going to have the wrong people coming in and not have a balanced risk pool, and as we got closer to the deadline the individual mandate, we saw the healthier, younger people come in,” McDonough says.
The administration believes the same will hold true on a national scale, once the so-called web glitches disappear. Republicans on Capitol Hill disagree.
"It is clear that Obamacare and the flaws with this law are much more than a website, the website is just the tip of the iceberg," said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers.
Obama is expected to give an update on the website at Faneuil Hall. He’s expected to speak just before 4 p.m. He’ll be introduced by his friend and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and surrounded by health care providers, those who got insurance under the Massachusetts health care law and health care advocates.
There are parking restrictions Wednesday afternoon with Game 6 of the World Series and Obama's arrival. Follow this link for more.