Biden Unmentioned in Obama's Telling of Health Care Bill's Passage

Joe Biden / Getty Images
October 26, 2020

Barack Obama published a 13,000-word essay Monday about passing the Affordable Care Act that only mentions his vice president, current Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, once.

In the New Yorker essay, excerpted from his upcoming White House memoir A Promised Land, Obama goes into minute detail about his and other Democrats' efforts to pass the legislation.

Obama's only reference to Biden is in reference to then-congressman Joe Wilson's shouting "You lie!" while Obama was speaking before Congress.

"For the briefest moment, a stunned silence fell over the chamber," Obama writes. "I turned to look for the heckler (as did Speaker Pelosi and Joe Biden, Nancy aghast and Joe shaking his head). I was tempted to exit my perch, make my way down the aisle, and smack the guy in the head."

That aside marks the only time Biden appears in the piece, in which Obama frequently references Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and former Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D, Nev.).

The former president even makes repeated references to lesser-known figures, such as aide Nancy-Ann DeParle, but does not present Biden as a part of the project.

Biden's absence from the story stands in stark contrast to his presidential campaign's message that his efforts were vital on Obamacare.

"The Obama-Biden Administration got it done," Biden's website tells visitors.

Biden has his own plans for how to make health care part of his legacy, however. He has proposed expanding Obamacare's reach by adding the option to buy into a government-run plan, calling his proposed fixes "Bidencare."

Democrats across the country have made health care a primary issue in the run-up to next week's election, in particular claiming that Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett would rule against Obamacare's legality in a hypothetical case.