Jarrett Promises Outreach to Business Leaders

Jarrett Promises Outreach to Business Leaders

A number of speakers at Tuesday’s DealBook conference addressed the Affordable Care Act, but the law’s fumbled rollout has arguably been the biggest headache for Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Obama.

“Obviously there’s no one more frustrated than the president that the website hasn’t lived up to our expectations,” Ms. Jarrett told the audience during a conversation with David Leonhardt, the Washington bureau chief for The New York Times. She emphasized that the president has taken “immediate action” to fix the problems.

The president has lit a fire under his staff to fix issues with HealthCare.gov, the online marketplace where consumers can purchase insurance under the new regulations. While Ms. Jarrett acknowledged the problems, she also said that “millions of Americans” have already benefited from the law.

“There isn’t an American who isn’t going to be touched in a positive way by the Affordable Care Act,” Ms. Jarrett said. “Change is difficult. Even change for the better is difficult.”

Ms. Jarrett said she herself had benefited by being able to keep her daughter on her health plan until she turned 26.

Earlier in the day, Laurence D. Fink, the chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, said that the Obama administration had reached out more to business than “any White House in modern time.”

Ms. Jarrett did not appear to disagree. She pledged continuing transparency and communication with business leaders, even though issues like corporate tax reform could cause friction.

Ms. Jarrett said the government has taken “enormous strides” in reaching out to business over the past five years, and “we still have work to do. But we’re going in the right direction.”



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