Obama to tout U.S. economic recovery in Ohio steel mill visit

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama is set to tout the U.S. economic recovery during a visit to an Ohio steel mill on Thursday even as he faces more questions about the troubled rollout of his signature healthcare law.

Obama will talk about the recovery of the U.S. auto industry, the energy benefits of auto fuel-efficiency standards, and the attractiveness of the United States for foreign investment when he visits the ArcelorMittal Cleveland facility, the White House said.

The company has brought back workers furloughed in 2008 during the U.S. recession and has added 150 new jobs, the White House said in a statement.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, is headquartered in Luxembourg. The company’s chief executive, Lakshmi Mittal, is due to meet greet Obama at the Ohio plant.

“Industries like steel that rely heavily on demand from the auto manufacturers, including fabricated metals and machinery, have been the source of most of U.S. manufacturing job growth since early 2010,” the White House said in a statement.

Obama’s trip to Ohio comes a day after his administration released figures showing that many fewer Americans than originally expected signed up for health insurance plans under the law known as Obamacare since enrollment began on October 1.

The administration said on Wednesday that 106,000 people enrolled in insurance plans – far fewer than the millions of people who had been projected to do so.

Obama’s fellow Democrats are demanding that the White House swiftly help people whose existing insurance policies have been canceled because of higher standards under the healthcare law and to fix the program’s broken website by the end of the month.

On a visit to Louisiana and Florida last week, Obama reminded audiences that Republican governors of those states passed up the chance to expand healthcare coverage to low-income people through an expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

He will be able to tell his audience that in Ohio, Republican Governor John Kasich backed a broadening of Medicaid, bringing in $2.5 billion in federal funding that is expected to provide coverage for 275,000 state residents.

(Editing by Will Dunham)

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