President Obama said at a White House ceremony today marking the fifth anniversary of Obamacare that the healthcare law is “working better than many of us, including me, anticipated.”
“I mean, we have been promised a lot of things these past five years that didn’t turn out to be the case: death panels, doom,” he said, sparking laughter from the healthcare “leaders,” in the words of a White House official, comprising the audience. “A serious alternative from Republicans in Congress,” Obama quipped, arousing more laughter.
“The budget they introduced last week would literally double the number of the uninsured in America. And in their defense, there are two reasons why coming up with their own alternative has proven to be difficult,” he said. “First, it’s because the Affordable Care Act pretty much was their plan before I adopted it based on conservative, market-based principles developed by the Heritage Foundation and supported by Republicans in Congress, and deployed by a guy named Mitt Romney in Massachusetts to great effect. If they want to take credit for this law, they can. I’m happy to share it.”
“And second, it’s because health reform is really hard and the people here who are in the trenches know that. Good people from both parties have tried and failed to get it done for 100 years, because every public policy has some trade-offs, especially when it affects one-sixth of the American economy and applies to the very personal needs of every individual American.”
Only three congressional Democrats were at the event; the rest were in a joint session of Congress listening to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.
Obama said that “for folks who are basing their entire political agenda on repealing the law, you’ve got to explain how kicking millions of families off their insurance is somehow going to make us more free.”
“Or why forcing millions of families to pay thousands of dollars more will somehow make us more secure. Or why we should go back to the days when women paid more for coverage than men. Or a preexisting condition locked so many of us out of insurance,” he added.