Biden: Obama 'Had No Time to Explain the Affordable Care Act'

June 17, 2019

Joe Biden claimed Monday that former President Barack Obama had "no time to explain the Affordable Care Act" because of the volume of problems he encountered in his presidency.

The former vice president's comments were off the cuff, but they still belied the fact that Obama campaigned for re-election in 2012 on his signature health care law, also known as Obamacare, and held countless town halls and speeches about it before and after its passage in 2010. Those remarks included constant promises that no one would lose their preferred doctor or insurance under the law.

Biden was one of 10 Democratic presidential candidates scheduled to appear at the Poor People's Campaign's presidential forum in Washington, where he took a question from MSNBC host Joy Reid about how he would accomplish his legislative goals. Even if Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) loses his position as majority leader in 2020, Biden as president would still likely face Republicans capable of filibustering ambitious liberal legislation in the Senate.

"That's what presidents are supposed to do. Persuade the public," he said.

Biden said legislative compromise was important but it also was important to beat Republicans at the ballot box if they wouldn't along with Democratic ideas.

"Remember with the Affordable Care Act, because everything landed on President Obama's desk but locusts at the time, he had no time to explain the Affordable Care Act," Biden added.

According to Biden, people came around on Obamacare when it seemed like health care and coverage for pre-existing conditions were going to be "taken away" after Republicans won in 2016.

In a seeming shot at Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), one of his chief rivals for the nomination who talks about leading a political "revolution," Biden said change was about working within the system. He described how he and Obama worked to persuade Republicans on key items to help the economy after the financial crisis.

"You try to persuade. Doesn't mean you can do it all the time," Biden said. "If you start off with the notion there is nothing you can do, then why don't you go all go home then, man? Or let's start a real, physical revolution if you are talking about it, because we have to be able to change what we are doing within our system."