President Biden on Monday jumped at the chance to tussle with Republicans over the 2010 health-care law known as Obamacare after Donald Trump wrote on social media this weekend that he is “seriously looking at alternatives” to it, something for which Republicans had all but abandoned trying to fight.
“My predecessor, once again … called for cuts that could rip away health insurance for tens of millions Americans and Medicaid,” Biden said Monday at the White House. “They just don’t give up. But guess what? We won’t let these things happen.”
Staffers at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Del., expedited plans to focus on health care and the contrast between Trump and Biden on the issue, according to two campaign officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that were not yet public. The campaign will run new TV ads this week in swing states to highlight the president’s efforts to lower prices for some prescription drugs and spotlight Trump’s call to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
On Tuesday, the campaign will host a press call with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D), both of whom plan to slam Trump for promising to repeal the health-care law, the campaign officials said, and campaign staffers also are digging through the archives to resurface Trump’s attempts over the years to terminate the law.
The Biden campaign touted polling Monday that demonstrated the popularity of the Affordable Care Act. “40 million people — more than 1 in 10 Americans — have health insurance today because of the Affordable Care Act and Donald Trump just said he would try to rip it away if he returns to power,” Ammar Moussa, a spokesman for the campaign, said in a statement. “He was one vote away from getting it done when he was president — and we should take him at his word that he’ll try to do it again.” Moussa added: “Donald Trump’s America is one where millions of people lose their health insurance and seniors and families across the country face exorbitant costs just to stay healthy. Those are the stakes next November.”
The Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama. The legislation expanded health insurance coverage by broadening Medicaid eligibility requirements, and by providing tax credits so people could purchase private insurance plans through newly created marketplaces.
Republicans in the House and Senate for years campaigned on the pledge to repeal the legislation. But once Republicans held majorities in both chambers of Congress and the White House, they could not agree on exactly how to do that.
In 2017, Trump’s first year as president, the GOP-controlled House passed one plan, and the GOP-controlled Senate was considering another. That’s when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) walked onto the Senate floor, raised his arm and pointed his thumb down. “The vote left the GOP plan to repeal Obamacare in tatters,” The Washington Post’s Peter W. Stevenson wrote at the time.
The Biden administration announced in June 2021 that 31 million people had health-care coverage through the Affordable Care Act. About 11.3 million Americans enrolled in plans through marketplaces, and 14.8 million got coverage through expanded Medicaid eligibility, according to the administration.