President Obama defended his signature healthcare law before the Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling on Obamacare subsidies, telling the conference of the Catholic Health Association in Washington today that “Chicken Little warnings” haven’t come true.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has gone to battle with the Obama administration over contraceptive coverage mandates, but the Catholic Health Association has supported Obamacare because the group says the bill gave needed help to the poor and working-class families. The two groups have clashed over the issue.
CHA president Sister Carol Keehan has said that if the Supreme Court strikes down subsidies in King v. Burwell “we’ll take a giant step back.” She possesses one of the 21 pens Obama used to sign the healthcare law in 2010.
“We need more governors and state legislatures to expand Medicaid, which was a central part of the architecture of the overall plan,” Obama said today. “We need more governors and state legislatures to expand Medicaid, which was a central part of the architecture of the overall plan.”
“There’s something, I have to say, just deeply cynical about the ceaseless, endless, partisan attempts to roll back progress. I mean, I understood folks being skeptical or worried before the law passed and there wasn’t a reality there to examine. But once you see millions of people having health care, once you see that all the bad things that were predicted didn’t happen, you’d think that it’d be time to move on.”
The administration contends Congress could fix the subsidies language at odds in King v. Burwell, but GOP lawmakers have said that isn’t going to happen.
“When tens of millions of people couldn’t afford decent, affordable care, that wasn’t a better America. That’s not freedom, the freedom to languish in illness or to be bankrupt because somebody in your family got sick. That’s not — that’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about,” Obama said.
The president said America “is not a place where we simply turn away from the sick or turn our backs on the tired, the poor, the huddled masses.”
“It is a place sustained by the idea ‘I am my brother’s keeper; I am my sister’s keeper.’ That we have an obligation to put ourselves in our neighbor’s shoes and see each others common humanity. And so, after a century of talk, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, we finally made health care reform a reality here in America,” he said.
“And despite the constant doom and gloom predictions, the unending Chicken Little warnings that somehow making health insurance fair and easier to buy would lead to the end of freedom, the end of our American way of life, lo and behold, it did not happen. None of this came to pass.”
House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) fired back in a statement that Obama “continues to shamelessly attack Americans who are standing up for patient-centered health care and for the right to have access to more affordable health care choices.”
“For the president to imply that those who oppose Obamacare do so in order to harm our fellow citizens is particularly insulting in light of the fact that it is precisely the president’s health care law that is driving up costs for families and businesses and kicking millions of people off of health care plans they had and liked,” Price said.
“…Obama and his allies have created a colossal mess of America’s health care system and their only defense now is to insult those who think we can and ought to do better.”