Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday ripped President Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and put forward his vision for expanding health care access by building on Obamacare.
“[Trump’s] like a child who can’t believe this has happened to him — all his whining and self-pity,” Biden said at a speech in Lancaster, Pa. “Well, this pandemic didn’t happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn’t to whine about it. His job is to do something about it, to lead.”
During the speech in a recreation center gym, Biden called on the Trump administration to stop its ongoing lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act, warning that it could lead to millions of Americans losing coverage.
“Perhaps most cruelly of all, if Donald Trump has his way, those who have complications from Covid-19 could become the new pre-existing conditions,” said Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. “If Donald Trump prevails in court, insurers would be allowed once again to strip away coverage, jack up premiums, simply because of the battle they survived fighting coronavirus.”
Biden reiterated his campaign pledge to expand health care coverage by implementing a public insurance option.
“We need a public option, now more than ever, especially when more than 20 million people are unemployed,” Biden said.
Speaking at a podium emblazoned with the words “Protect and Build on the Affordable Care Act,” the former vice president touted the legislation as one of President Barack Obama’s crowning achievements that covered tens of millions of Americans.
“Testing unequivocally saves lives,” Biden said, weighing in on the controversy surrounding Trump’s coronavirus testing comments. Biden also criticized the president for putting his political image above the country’s well-being.
Holding up his black cloth mask and extolling its virtues, Biden contrasted himself with Trump’s unwillingness to be pictured in a mask.
Health care was a defining issue of the 2020 Democratic primary. Progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont championed a Medicare for All policy and criticized Biden’s public-option plan as too incremental, representing a major policy disagreement between the party’s moderate and left wings.
Democrats credit their focus on health care issues like protecting Obamacare and protecting pre-existing conditions for their 2018 success in reclaiming the House of Representatives. Read more