WASHINGTON — President Obama marked the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by mocking the law’s longtime critics as wrong about their predictions that its passage would doom America’s health care system.
In an event at the White House on Wednesday, Mr. Obama said the law had decreased the ranks of the uninsured by a third, having enabled 16 million people to sign up for health coverage through the government marketplaces.
”We have been promised a lot of things in these past five years that didn’t turn out to be the case,” Mr. Obama said. “Death panels, doom, a serious alternative from Republicans in Congress.”
The president’s remarks came as the law remained under attack on multiple fronts. In a challenge before the Supreme Court this month, plaintiffs argued that a critical part of the law — the subsidies that make insurance affordable — cannot be provided to people signing up at HealthCare.gov.
And Republicans, who now control Congress, are pressing forward with efforts to change or even repeal parts of the law. In announcing his candidacy for president on Monday, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, vowed to repeal “every single word” of the health care law.
Michael C. Short, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, issued a statement shortly after Mr. Obama’s remarks.
“No matter how much President Obama spins his unpopular health care law so Hillary Clinton can run for his third term, middle class Americans are still being saddled with higher premiums, higher taxes, fewer work hours, and canceled plans,” Mr. Short said.
For Mr. Obama, the attacks may become easier to deflect, given the statistics that he cited at the event on Wednesday. He said that health care premiums would be $1,800 higher now if price growth in that industry had continued at the rate of five years ago. He said that cuts in Medicare drug costs had saved seniors $15 billion.
”It’s working, despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law,” Mr. Obama said.
“It’s not the job killer that critics have warned about for five years,” Mr. Obama said. “When this law was passed, our businesses began the longest streak of private sector job growth on record. Sixty straight months. Five straight years. Twelve million new jobs.”
Republicans insist that the economy would have been even better without the health care law. But after years in which the White House was on the defensive — especially when it came to the rocky implementation of the law — Mr. Obama on Wednesday was ready to simply brag about it.
”We know beyond a shred of a doubt that the policy works,” he said.
Source: NY Times