He put a pretty solid smackdown on the Republicans today:
Now, I think the really interesting question is why it is that my friends in the other party have made the idea of preventing these people from getting health care their holy grail. Their number-one priority. The one unifying principle in the Republican Party at the moment is making sure that 30 million people don’t have health care; and presumably, repealing all those benefits I just mentioned — kids staying on their parents’ plan, seniors getting discounts on their prescription drugs, I guess a return to lifetime limits on insurance, people with pre-existing conditions continuing to be blocked from being able to get health insurance.
That’s hard to understand as a — an agenda that is going to strengthen our middle class. At least they used to say, well, we’re going to replace it with something better. There’s not even a pretense now that they’re going to replace it with something better.
The — the — the notion is simply that those 30 million people, or the 150 million who are benefiting from the other aspects of affordable care, will be better off without it. That’s their assertion, not backed by fact, not backed by any evidence.
It’s just become an ideological fixation.
Well, I’ll tell you what — they’re wrong about that. There is no doubt that in implementing the Affordable Care Act — a program of this significance — there are going to be some glitches. No doubt about it. There are going to be things where we say, you know what? We should have thought of that earlier, or this would work a little bit better or this needs an adjustment. That was true of Social Security. That was true of Medicare. That was true of the children’s health insurance program. That was true of the prescription drug program part D that was rolled out by a Republican president and supported by Republicans who are still in the House of Representatives.
That’s true, by the way, of a car company rolling out a new car. It’s true of Apple rolling out the new iPad. So, you know, you will be able to, whenever you want, during the course of the next six months and probably the next year, find occasions where you say, aha, you know what? That could have been done a little bit better, or that thing — they’re kind of making an administrative change. That’s not how it was originally thought this thing was going to work.
Yes, exactly, because our goal is to actually deliver high- quality, affordable health care for people and to reform the system so costs start going down and people start getting a better bang for the buck. And I make no apologies for that.
And let me just make one last point about this. The idea that you would shut down the government unless you prevent 30 million people from getting health care is a bad idea. What you should be thinking about is, how can we advance and improve ways for middle class families to have some security so that if they work hard they can get ahead and their kids can get ahead.