Former President Donald Trump’s recent remarks about potentially revisiting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, if re-elected, have triggered a strong response from President Joe Biden’s campaign. Trump’s stance has been portrayed as extreme by Biden’s team, prompting a swift counter-campaign through advertising in key battleground states. These ads contrast Biden’s efforts to reduce drug prices against Trump’s controversial comments.
The ongoing dispute reflects the significance of health care as a key issue in the potential general election rematch between Trump and Biden. Biden’s campaign has been operating under the assumption that Trump will be the GOP nominee, given his strong poll numbers. In response, Biden’s team is increasingly framing Trump’s plans as extreme as well as portraying him as a threat to democracy. They are particularly emphasizing the potential risks to health care and the ACA, aiming to galvanize Democratic voters.
Historically, Democrats have been more successful in leveraging health care as an election issue. In contrast, Republicans, including Trump, have shifted away from efforts to repeal the ACA. The Biden campaign is capitalizing on this moment, planning high-profile events and media engagements to highlight the potential impact of repealing the ACA.
Trump’s engagement with the health care issue surfaced in a post on Truth Social, criticizing the ACA for its high costs and questioning its effectiveness. He recalled the 2017 attempt to repeal the ACA, a move thwarted by the late Senator John McCain.
Regarding public opinion, the ACA generally receives favorable views. Around 6 in 10 Americans hold a positive opinion of the health reform bill. However, Biden’s handling of health care issues shows mixed reactions. While he enjoys substantial support among Democrats, his overall management of health care has faced disapproval from a significant portion of the population. An AP-NORC poll from June 2023 revealed that only 44% of U.S. adults approved of how Biden was handling health care, with 53% disapproving.
Biden’s campaign spokesperson, Ammar Moussa, emphasized the high stakes of the next election. He portrayed a Trump victory as a direct threat to health care reforms, warning that Trump could potentially dismantle the ACA if re-elected. This stance by Biden’s campaign is a strategic move to position Trump’s health care policies as a central election issue, aiming to mobilize voters around the potential rollback of significant health care reforms.