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Biden warns against GOP health bill: ObamaCare is ‘peace of mind’

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Biden warns against GOP health bill: ObamaCare is 'peace of mind'

Former Vice President Joe Biden returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday to hammer the Republicans’ ObamaCare replacement bill as a form of class warfare. Biden said the GOP’s proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare is really a tax benefit for the wealthy disguised as a healthcare proposal.  “When you cut to the chase, we’re talking about eliminating close to $1 trillion in benefits that go to people … and transferring all of that to the wealthy. That’s what this is all about,” Biden said before a cheering crowd in front of the Capitol on a blustery morning in Washington.  “That’s classic Republican politics. This is a tax bill for them.” Biden’s appearance alongside scores of House Democrats came as the party is both celebrating the seventh anniversary of ObamaCare’s signing and fighting to prevent the Republicans’ bill from passing when it hits the floor — a vote scheduled for Thursday. The Democrats are united against the GOP bill, but have no power to block the legislation in the Republican-controlled House. Still, President Trump, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders are scrambling to gather the necessary votes in the face of opposition within their own ranks, largely from conservatives who say the bill, known as the American Health Care Act, retains too much power for the federal government over coverage and care decisions. The bill’s GOP critics have dubbed the proposal “ObamaCare Lite.”  Biden and the Democrats hope to exploit the internal GOP divisions by highlighting ObamaCare’s successes and warn of the coverage erosion under the Republicans’ alternative. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the GOP bill would reduce the number of people with health insurance by 14 million next year and by 24 million over a decade. Joining the Democrats at the Capitol Wednesday was California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who warned that the Republicans’ “fake healthcare bill” would “devastate” the working class people benefitting from the Affordable Care Act and accusing Trump and the Republicans of pushing an ideology in lieu of a healthcare bill. “It’s written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about,” Brown charged. “I know the people in Trump Tower haven’t read it.”  Democrats have long acknowledged problems with ObamaCare, urging GOP leaders to focus on fixing those flaws instead of gutting the central elements of the law — a strategy that’s a non-starter with Republicans.  “We know, just like when Social Security was passed, there’d have to be improvements made. We’d watch it, and see what happened, and the improvements are all doable,” Biden said. “This bill is about peace of mind.” Biden churned plenty of headlines at the signing event seven years ago, when a live microphone picked up a comment he whispered to then-President Obama. “This is a big f—ing deal,” Biden said during the introduction. The remark was not forgotten by Democrats on Wednesday. “If we can beat TrumpCare and prevent it from passing it would be, as our former vice president once said, a BFD,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Biden, for his part, took the reminders in stride. “Thank God my mother wasn’t around when that comment was picked up,” he said.

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