His remarks resembled a campaign speech.
President Joe Biden marked the 13th anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act in the same room where he once whispered in President Obama’s ear that enacting the legislation was a “big f—— deal.”
Biden cheekily recalled the hot-mic moment on Thursday, saying he stands by the terminology he used years ago in describing the sweeping health care reform.
“Many of you joined us that day after fighting for decades to make it happen, and I remember three words I used at the time, I thought it was –” Biden said, smiling to invited guests in the White House East Room. “I thought it was a big deal. And I stand by the fact, it was a big deal.”
The landmark health care law was passed in 2010 when Biden was vice president, and he gave high praise to former President Barack Obama for his leadership in securing the “extraordinary achievement.”
“While the Affordable Care Act has been called a lot of things, ‘Obamacare’ is the most fitting description,” Biden said to applause.
But Biden mostly used the event to hammer Republicans over health care policy, making the event resemble more a campaign speech than an anniversary celebration.
“Folks, our MAGA Republican friends — and by that way, I want to be clear: There are some good decent Republicans out there,” Biden said. “But this new crowd, this ain’t your father’s Republican Party.”
The president touted the progress his administration has made to advance health care policy though legislation like the Affordable Care Act and Inflation Reduction Act and warned that Republicans in Congress have not supported the same policies in a divided Washington.
“Folks, look, we’re making health care more affordable in many other ways as well. Last year, I proposed and the Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) which no Republican voted for, even the good ones. I don’t mean ‘good’ in the moral sense. I mean the normal Republican,” he said.
Biden also highlighted recent moves by several pharmaceutical companies to cap the price of insulin — something he called for during his State of the Union address — as well as provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act that will allow for Medicare to negotiate the price of some prescription drugs.
He also repeatedly focused on the fact that Republicans have yet to release their budget proposal and argued that the White House releasing its proposal earlier this month shows where they stand.
“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget, and I will tell you what you value,” he said. “Well, I value everyone having a decent shot. It’s about fairness. It’s about dignity. My budget continues to build on the progress we made in the Affordable Care Act.”
“We still haven’t seen the House Republican budget. They want to negotiate. I say, ‘I’ve laid down my budget on the 9th, you lay down yours, let’s negotiate.’ I don’t know where their budget is. No, I’m serious,” Biden added to laughter.
After his remarks, Biden took time to hold up Democratic Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s son, Hodge, who has become a familiar sight in Washington, including getting on TV during the week-long votes for House speaker.
The president held Hodge close for a few moments, with the seven-month-old baby putting his hands on Biden’s face.
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