Days after delivering what he called a "little speech" (also known as the State of the Union address), President Obama vehemently defended the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, rallying the audience at a Families USA conference in Washington, D.C., that "we are moving forward."

Building upon January's State of the Union remarks, Obama made the case that health care reform is a key part of deficit reduction.

Speaking mere blocks away from the Capitol, he reiterated his willingness to "tweak" the reform law, but steadfastly refused to "refight the battles of the last two years," adding "I'm not open to efforts that will take this law apart without even considering the lives and the livelihoods that lie in the balance."

Repeal efforts

Congressional House Republicans have started hosting hearings on the law's effect on businesses, their workforces, and the economy.

The president alluded to Republican repeal efforts: "You may have heard that this is a job-crushing, granny-threatening, budget-busting monstrosity...and that just doesn't match up to the reality."

Rather, he countered, "Not only has the economy grown and added jobs since the Affordable Care Act became law, small businesses across the country have already decided to offer health insurance for [their] employees, many for the first time."

Obama cited the Business Roundtable, which determined that health insurance reform could save large employers anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 for each family, each year they cover them. He also drew attention to the Congressional Budget Office report that found that if repealed, the destruction of the health care reform law would cost up to $230 billion by 2021.

Still, the president acknowledged weaknesses in the legislation and once again pledged to make the necessary changes, such as eliminating the 1099 reporting requirements.

"Let's keep on going," Obama concluded, thanking Families USA for its support and pressing those in attendance not to give up fighting for the landmark legislation.

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