In a move that should stir even more speculation about his plans for 2016, Vice President Joe Biden penned an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on Sunday, extolling the virtues of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in the state where the race for the White House will begin with the Iowa caucuses.
Biden praised Obama for taking up the health care issue "in the middle of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression."
"I still remember the turmoil and uncertainty of those early days — and the president’s determination to act swiftly to stop the hemorrhaging," Biden wrote. "I remember something else especially clearly: President Obama’s insistence that we fix America’s broken health care system."
There were dissenting voices back then, even inside the administration — people who thought we couldn’t risk the politics of a prolonged congressional battle in the midst of a harsh recession. We should save it for another time. After all, presidents back nearly 100 years had tried and failed to provide national health coverage. But President Obama refused to wait in the face of what he saw as a genuine emergency for the middle class.
He reminded the skeptics that trouble for the middle class had started long before the economic crisis, and would continue long after economic recovery unless we did something about our health care system. He reminded them of the stories he’d heard when he ran for president — of folks seeing their premiums rising while their wages stagnated, of insurance companies refusing to cover children born with chronic diseases, of cancer patients hitting their lifetime limits in the first weeks of chemotherapy.
In 2010, because of his perseverance, we passed the Affordable Care Act.
Biden touted the results of Obamacare so far, and what will happen starting Tuesday.
"As of Oct. 1, tens of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance because they can’t afford it — or have been denied access to it — will finally be able to buy a health care plan they can afford," the vice president wrote. "Here in Iowa, an average 27-year-old making $25,000 could get covered for just $96. A family of four making $50,000 a year could get covered for as little as $103 a month."
Biden added: "The president never yielded during the health care debate. He never forgot why we ran, who we’d come to serve, and mostly, the security and dignity that we could provide the middle class if we were willing to fight. And so we did. We fought to bring affordable health care to all Americans, and because of the president’s insistence — and persistence — we are delivering."
The 70-year-old hasn't ruled out a third run for president in 2016.
Earlier this month, Biden traveled to Iowa to speak at Sen. Tom Harkin’s annual steak fry, a political tradition where, as ABC News noted, a young Sen. Barack Obama made his Iowa debut in 2006.
And last week, Biden held a private fundraiser for Iowa congressional candidate Jim Mowrer in Washington.