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Updated Nov 26, 2023, 8:58pm EST
politics

Team Biden plots attack on Trump over Obamacare

Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports
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The News

The Biden campaign is eagerly planning to make the Affordable Care Act a bigger issue after former President Donald Trump said Saturday that he’s “seriously looking at alternatives” to Obamacare.

“The cost of Obamacare is out of control, plus, it’s not good Healthcare,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social. “I’m seriously looking at alternatives. We had a couple of Republican Senators who campaigned for 6 years against it, and then raised their hands not to terminate it. It was a low point for the Republican Party, but we should never give up!”

Both the Biden campaign and top surrogates will emphasize the topic in the coming days, according to a Biden campaign official, who said Trump continues to take “toxic, extreme positions” that are “political winners” for Democrats.

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“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,” Ammar Moussa, director of rapid response for the Biden campaign, said in a statement. “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.”

In recent weeks, team Biden has ramped up its attacks against Trump, in part via near-daily “Trump’s America in 2025” press releases which highlight different policy proposals he might enact should he win office again.

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Know More

Up until now, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t been a top focus among Republicans on the 2024 campaign trail compared to previous presidential election cycles. In general, the party has not seemed eager to revisit the issue after repeatedly failing to repeal and replace the program under Trump and then suffering a wave of attack ads from Democrats in 2018. Even by the time the 2020 election rolled around, some Republicans seemed uncomfortable with a suit brought by GOP state officials and backed by Trump that sought to strike the law down (it ultimately failed at the Supreme Court). Polls have shown the public has largely moved on from their earlier fights over the law — close to 60% of adults now have a favorable opinion of it, according to a KFF tracking poll.

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Shelby’s view

Like so many things for Trump, there’s a personal element to consider as well as a political one. The ACA is the signature achievement of his predecessor and he’s long complained that the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. killed a partial repeal bill by voting “no.” Even his statement on Saturday took an oblique shot at McCain more than five years after his death, accusing him of backtracking on his prior opposition to the law. It would not be surprising if he took another pass at Obamacare in office. As it stands, the expanded ACA subsidies that were part of the Inflation Reduction Act are set to expire in 2025 at the same time as portions of Trump’s tax cuts, setting up a massive legislative fight after the next election.

As for the Biden campaign, it’s a conversation they’re eager to have as soon as possible — and likely continue all the way to election day. A fight over the Affordable Care Act might be a political winner for Democrats in an election cycle where the political environment has continued to get Trumpier on a number of key issues, as I recently wrote. Unlike the economy, crime, and immigration, Democrats are still more trusted on health care — a recent NBC News poll gave them a 23-point edge over Republicans as to which party voters think would better handle the topic.

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The View From The Trump Campaign

“President Trump continues to dominate Crooked Joe Biden in the polls because Americans know this country can’t survive another 4 years of a Biden-Harris administration,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement. “If these radical Democrats think supercharging the economy, lowering taxes, securing our borders, and protecting our communities are extreme positions, they are unfit to lead this country.”

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Notable

  • It’s currently the annual open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplace, which gives the White House yet another reason to discuss the issue. Over 4.5 million people have signed up for a plan so far, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
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