Trump revives push to eliminate Obamacare, sparking Biden campaign blowback
WASHINGTON — Over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Republican presidential primary front-runner Donald Trump revived calls to roll back Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act, if he returns to the White House.
“The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare. I’m seriously looking at alternatives,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social on Saturday.
Trump’s post resurrects an issue on which he and his party are vulnerable. A Sept. 15-19 NBC News poll found that when it comes to health care, voters trust Democrats over Republicans by a margin of 45%-22%. The same survey found that Democrats trail the GOP on many other issues, including the economy, immigration and crime.
After trying and failing to repeal the ACA, and suffering for it at the ballot box, Republican candidates abandoned their calls for eliminating the law in the 2022 midterm elections, recognizing the push as a political loser. But Trump could bring it back in 2024.
“We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it,” Trump wrote in his post over the weekend. “It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”
President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign hit back.
“40 million people — more than 1 in 10 Americans — have health insurance today because of the Affordable Care Act and Donald Trump just said he would try to rip it away if he returns to power. He was one vote away from getting it done when he was president — and we should take him at his word that he’ll try to do it again,” campaign spokesman Ammar Moussa said in a statement.
A Biden adviser said the campaign and its key allies intend to seize on Trump’s calls to undo the ACA and “really hit this hard,” both on television and elsewhere. “No tactic is out of the question,” the adviser said, adding that they’ll present it as part of a “deeply, historically unpopular agenda” that Republicans are running on.
“It’s almost perfect that Trump would pick the one thing they haven’t really put front and center, which we know is incredibly unpopular, and say ‘Yeah, I’m gonna do this too!’” said the adviser, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the campaign’s plans publicly.
As president in 2017, Trump and a Republican-led Congress fought to repeal the law but fell short. The following year, that effort fueled the backlash against the GOP in the midterm elections. Health care ranked as the top issue for voters, and they favored Democratic candidates by a margin of 75%-23%, NBC News exit polls showed.
But Trump persisted, endorsing a lawsuit at the Supreme Court in 2020 that would have dismantled the law. In the 2020 election, health care was once again an important issue for voters, and those who cited it as their top concern favored Biden over Trump by a margin of 62%-37%, according to NBC News exit polls.
Trump would need to get elected in 2024 with a Republican-controlled Congress to have any chance of undoing the ACA.
The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 40 million people in the United States have gained coverage under the law’s insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion and other provisions since Democrats passed the ACA and then-President Barack Obama signed it in 2010 while standing next to Biden, who was then the vice president.
While unpopular when it first passed, the law has enjoyed higher public support since its most popular provisions took effect, including the consumer protections to bar insurers from turning away or charging higher prices for people with pre-existing conditions, and policies enabling young people to stay on a parent’s insurance plan until age 26.
Biden’s campaign plans to highlight those provisions.
“Donald Trump’s America is one where millions of people lose their health insurance and seniors and families across the country face exorbitant costs just to stay healthy,” Moussa said in his statement. “Those are the stakes next November.”
This article was originally published on NBCNews.comNews Related