President Biden will mark Obamacare’s 13th anniversary on Thursday by highlighting coverage gains while accusing the GOP of plotting to chip away at the landmark program’s benefits.
Mr. Biden is seeking leverage in negotiations with GOP who insist on spending cuts in exchange for lifting the nation’s debt limit. He’s painting Republican negotiators as a direct threat to health benefits in key programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, which Democrats muscled to passage in 2010 while Mr. Biden was vice president.
“Not only has virtually every Republican budget or fiscal plan over the last decade included repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and deep cuts to Medicaid, but House Republicans putting together their budget are reportedly drawing heavily on a plan that includes both,” a White House fact sheet said Thursday. “And in recent weeks, they’ve reiterated that both Medicaid, including the ACA’s expansion of coverage to low-income adults, and ACA tax credits that help people afford coverage are on the chopping block for cuts.”
Vice President Kamala Harris will join Mr. Biden in the White House East Room for a celebration of Obamacare. Mr. Biden held a similar celebration with former President Barack Obama last year on the cusps of the midterms.
This time, Mr. Biden will point to reports that House Republicans are eyeing ways to limit Medicaid, either through work requirements or by reeling in Obamacare’s expansion of the program.
The White House also highlighted a House Republican Budget Committee plan that would “limit Obamacare to its original purpose” by returning subsidies on the program’s exchanges to earlier levels.
Democrats extended supersized subsidies through 2025 as part of Mr. Biden’s tax and climate legislation last year. The bigger subsidies made the program more attractive and bolstered signups for this plan year.
About 16 million people have signed up for private insurance on the law’s portals, compared to 11 million when Mr. Biden took office. Another 22 million have joined Medicaid because the law expanded coverage in most states.
Mr. Biden is using the specter of Obamacare cuts as a cudgel against Republicans alongside his claims the House GOP majority wants to rein in Medicare and Social Security.
Republicans say entitlement programs for seniors are off the table in negotiations.
However, GOP lawmakers have criticized the federal largesse provided by Obamacare, saying health reforms should target the underlying cost of health care instead of throwing more money at subsidies or ballooning Medicaid rolls.
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