Biden Celebrates ACA Anniversary, Lashes Out at GOP
Health Care

Biden Celebrates ACA Anniversary, Lashes Out at GOP

Jacquelyn Martin/Pool via Reuters

President Barack Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on this date in 2010 — and Joe Biden, who was vice president at the time, memorably labeled the occasion a “big f---ing deal” in a remark caught on a hot mic.

Biden, now president, celebrated the law’s 13th anniversary on Thursday at another event in the White House, this time without F-bombs — but with some choice words for Republicans.

“I think most people would agree: the most consequential piece of health care legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965,” Biden said.

“I remember the three words I used at the time. I thought it was a big deal," he added, crossing himself. “And I stand by the fact it was a big deal.”

Biden touted the ways his administration has expanded or fortified the law and sought to lower health care costs. Then he went after Republicans, who for years sought to repeal the health care reform law and now would like to roll back the Inflation Reduction Act Biden signed last year.

“Even now, MAGA Republicans in Congress are intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act when it’s clear it would have a devastating impact on the American people,” Biden said. “A former Trump director of budget advising the MAGA Republicans in Congress has a plan to slash $2 trillion from Medicaid. I guess that shows a little bit of their value set. He wants to end Medicare expansion under the Affordable Care Act and make additional deep cuts that could lead to nearly 70 million people losing critical services. Seventy million people, most of whom are seniors, people with disabilities and children.”

A new record for Obamacare enrollment: “The anniversary event took place the same day the Department of Health and Human Services released an annual report showing that a record 16.4 million consumers have private health plans through insurance marketplaces created under the law,” The Washington Post’s Amy Goldstein notes. “That enrollment level in ACA health plans, designed for people who cannot get affordable health benefits through a job, compares with about 14.5 million for 2022, a previous record, and 11.4 million the year before Biden took office, the federal tally shows.”

North Carolina approves Medicaid expansion: The White House event also comes as lawmakers in North Carolina on Thursday approved a deal to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act following a decade-long fight.

“[I]nterest in expansion grew over the past year as lawmakers concluded that Congress was neither likely to repeal the law nor raise the low 10% state match that coverage requires,” Gary D. Robertson of the Associated Press explains. “A financial sweetener contained in a COVID-19 recovery law means North Carolina also would get an estimated extra $1.75 billion in cash over two years if it expands Medicaid.”

The expansion would make nearly 180,000 uninsured adults in the state eligible for coverage, according to the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, though some estimates are closer to 600,000. It leaves just 10 states that have not expanded Medicaid. Those 10, which all have either a Republican governor or GOP-controlled legislature, are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

South Dakota has yet to implement the expansion approved by voters there in a November referendum.