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Obama urges young adults at Miami Dade College to sign up for health care

Enrollment window opens Nov. 1

MIAMI – President Barack Obama on Thursday defended his namesake health care program, long a target of Republicans and recently criticized by some Democrats, saying millions of Americans "now know the financial security of health insurance" because of the Affordable Care Act.

"It's worked," he said, even while allowing that the program isn't perfect. "No law is."

Obama chalked up the Republican criticism to "nothing more than politics" and GOP envy that "a Democratic president named Barack Obama passed the law. That's just the truth."

He called on both parties to set aside the "political rhetoric" and "be honest about what's working, what needs fixing and how we fix it."

Obama said repealing the law, as congressional Republicans repeatedly have failed to do, won't solve the problem "because right off the bat repeal would take away health care from 20 million people" and affect millions of other health care consumers.

Less than two weeks before people can start to enroll in the overhaul's health plans on Nov. 1, Obama used a speech at Miami Dade College to kick off a push by the administration to encourage more people to sign up, with a particular emphasis on young adults.

Obama arrived at Miami International Airport shortly after 1 p.m. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. They were greeted on the tarmac by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine.

Afterward, Obama spoke at a campaign rally in Miami Gardens for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, where he blasted Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

"You don't have to be a husband or father to stand up for women," Obama said. "You don't have to have a disability to say it's wrong to mock someone with a disability. You don't have to be a Muslim to stand up for our fellow citizens, who are just as patriotic as we are. You just have to be a decent person and you just have to love this country."

Obama also spoke at a fundraising dinner for Democratic governors at the home of Democratic donor and local lobbyist Alex Heckler in Miami Beach.