Biden and Obama team up for Obamacare enrollment push following Trump’s latest repeal threat

Former President Barack Obama and President Joe Biden arrive in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

President Joe Biden and former President Barack Obama teamed up on a new video vowing to protect and expand Obamacare at a time when former President Donald Trump has threatened to renew his efforts to repeal the health care law if he wins a second term.

The White House will release the video on social media later Friday as part of its effort to promote open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act exchanges, a White House official told CNN.

The video, first shared with CNN, starts with Biden reading a text message that asks, “Hey President Biden, is Obamacare still a thing?” Biden then turns to Obama and says, “Is it still a thing?”

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“Yes, Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, Bidencare, whatever you call it – yes, it is still a thing,” Obama says. “The other side’s been trying to repeal it every year since it’s existed, but we’ll keep fighting to protect it.”

“Not just protect it but expand it, saving millions of dollars for working families. We’re covering more people than ever,” Biden adds. The president ends the video by saying, “It’s still a BFD,” a reference to his hot-mic expletive moment celebrating Obamacare’s passage in 2010.

The video, which was filmed last week when Obama made a previously undisclosed visit to the White House, coincides with the deadline to enroll in Obamacare plans to receive coverage at the start of the year. This year’s open enrollment period started on November 1 and runs through January 15 on the federal exchange, Nearly 7.3 million people have signed up for 2024 coverage in the first five weeks, up nearly 34% from roughly the same period one year earlier.

The Biden-Obama collaboration comes as the White House and Biden campaign are eager to bring the health care debate front and center heading into the 2024 election.  The new video does not name Trump, but it comes after Biden’s predecessor resurrected talk of repealing and replacing Obamacare last month. Trump’s move even surprised some of his own advisers as the law has gained popularity in recent years following multiple failed Republican attempts to scrap it.

The video marks the latest effort by Biden to lean on his former boss and partner to help make a health care push. Obama’s first public appearance at the White House since leaving the presidency came last year when he joined Biden to promote bolstering Obamacare by closing a loophole that prevented millions of families from receiving subsidies.

The former president has also taped videos celebrating record enrollment and the anniversary of his signature health care law. And he taped videos – often poking fun at himself – while in office and during Trump’s tenure encouraging Americans to sign up during open enrollment.

The Biden campaign has also tapped into Obama’s appeal in its fundraising efforts, releasing joint videos and holding contests for small dollar donors to meet the two men.

Reducing health care costs, including on prescription drugs, and expanding coverage are expected to be key feature of Biden’s 2024 platform. Biden often touts how he and congressional Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, giving Medicare the ability to negotiate some drug prices for the first time and cutting the cost of insulin for Medicare enrollees.

On Thursday, he promoted another provision of that law that requires drug companies pay a rebate to Medicare if they raise their prices faster than inflation.

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“It’s a rip off. They’re ripping off Medicare. They’re ripping off the American people, but we’re now fighting back,” Biden said at the National Institutes of Health. “We’re gonna save taxpayers money and discourage companies from raising prices in the first place.”

Last week, the Biden administration also took several incremental steps aimed at lowering health care costs by promoting competition.

But a recent KFF poll showed few Americans are aware of the provisions Biden often touts, highlighting one of the challenges facing the president as he tries to convince Americans his policies are helping them.


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