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Obama Hawks Obamacare as Event Turns Into Infomercial

1:35 PM, Oct 21, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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On national television today, President Obama hawked Obamacare as the event turned into one big infomercial:

"Now, I want to emphasize this. Even as we redouble our efforts to get the site working as well as it's supposed to, we're also redoubling our efforts to make sure you can still buy the same quality affordable insurance plans available on the marketplace the old-fashioned way, offline -- either over the phone or in person," said Obama.

"And by the way, there are a lot of people who want to take advantage of this who are more comfortable working on the phone anyway, or in person. So let me go through the specifics as to how you can do that if you're having problems with the website or you just prefer dealing with a person.

"Yesterday we updated the website's homepage to offer more information about the other avenues to enroll in affordable health care until the online option works for everybody. So you'll find information about how to talk to a specialist who can help you apply over the phone or to receive a downloadable application you can fill out yourself and mail in.

"We've also added more staff to the call centers where you can apply for insurance over the phone. Those are already -- they've been working, but a lot of people have decided first to go to the website. But keep in mind, these call centers are already up and running. And you can get your questions answered by real people 24 hours a day in 150 different languages.

"The phone number for these call centers is 1-800-318-2596.

"I want to repeat that: 1-800-318-2596. Wait times have averaged less than one minute so far on the call centers, although I admit that the wait times probably might go up a little bit now that I've read the number out loud on national television. (Laughter.)

"But the point is, the call centers are available, you can talk to somebody directly and they can walk you through the application process. And I guarantee, if one thing's worth the wait, it's the safety and security of health care that you can afford -- (applause) -- or the amount of money that you can save by buying health insurance through the marketplaces.

"Once you get on the phone with a trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes for a family. Once you apply for coverage, you'll be contacted by mail, by email or postal mail, about your coverage status."

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