Biden rallies Democrats against GOP health care bill

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden rallied Democrats Wednesday against the Republican attempt to pass a health care bill that would replace former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment. Biden had been keeping a relatively low public profile since Trump’s January inauguration.

“This is not going to pass,” Biden said on the steps of the Capitol, standing in front of a large group of House Democrats.

But Biden and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., both made pointed comments that amounted to an appeal to Republicans to work with them on compromise fixes to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

“We knew there would have to be improvements made,” Biden said. “The improvements are all doable. They’re all in our wheelhouse.”

Schumer warned House Republicans to “wake up.”

“Work with us to improve the Affordable Care Act and renounce repeal once and for all,” Schumer said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at an event marking the seventh anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act.
Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at an event marking the seventh anniversary of the passing of the Affordable Care Act. (Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

California Gov. Jerry Brown warned that if Republicans are able to pass their health bill replacement, it would cause millions of people to lose their health insurance, a claim backed up by a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the legislation.

“We’re not talking about a few thousand. We’re talking about millions of real people getting hurt, getting diseases that will not be cured, having heart attacks, not being able to go to a hospital or get a doctor,” Brown said. “This is a dangerous bill. It’s written by people who don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.”

“This is not about health care reform. This is about disease, death and suffering,” Brown thundered. “Mr. Trump, come down from Trump Tower, walk among the people and see the damage that this latest exercise in raw political power will wreck on the women, the men and the children of this country.”

Around the same time that the Democrats were speaking at the Capitol, President Trump was hosting a meeting with a small group of House Republicans who continued to oppose the replacement measure that has been crafted by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

Trump and Ryan still appeared short of having the 218 House members they need to pass the bill on Thursday, when a vote is scheduled. A potentially decisive number of conservative and moderate Republicans have expressed concerns with the legislation, which has been embraced by the GOP leadership.

“Getting there,” said a House Republican leadership aide midday.

Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., told reporters at the White House that the House Republicans were meeting with Trump because he was “bringing them to the closer.”

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