President Obama will hold his final press conference of the year on Friday, finishing a year that was dominated by sagginging approval ratings and plenty of controversy over his signature health care law and his administration’s domestic surveillance programs.
If there is anything we can expect, it is that President Barack Obama will most certainly be faced with questions about the continued adversity that surrounds the Affordable Health Care Act. While the administration has cited dramatic improvements to the troubled HealthCare.gov web site, Obama is still plagued by criticism of the numerous exceptions and delays tacked on to the law since its October implemementation began.
In the latest series of modifications to the program, the administration announced Thursday night that it will not impose penalties on individuals whose insurance plans had been cancelled under the new ACA guidelines and who do not have alternative coverage by January 1. Those whose plans were cancelled but are not eligible for subsidies will also be able to use the law’s “hardship exemption” to buy a skeletal catastrophic coverage plan per nbcnews.com.
Another hot topic of concern that is likely to come up is the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance practices, which was first revelaed by Edward Snowden. On Monday, a federal judge ruled that the collection of phone records is likely unconstitutional. He labeled the program “almost-Orwellian technology.”
A presidential task force rleased a report this week which recommended that the NSA drastically modify its practice of collecting American’s phone records by requiring that the telephone companies themselves hold the information rather than the agency. If this were to be implemented, the advisory panel recommends to make it harder for the government to seek permission to search those records.
The year’s controversioes have hit hard on the president’s approval rating. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken in early December shows that just 43 percent of Americans approve the job Obama is doing as president. This is slightly down form the beginning of 2013, that show 52 percent approving.
The press conference is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET before the Obama’s embark on their annual vacation in Hawaii.