President Barack Obama needled Republicans over intraparty divisions on Monday, saying that opposition to the Affordable Care Act “seems to be the one thing that unifies” the GOP as of late.
“I recognize that the Republican Party has made blocking the Affordable Care Act its signature policy idea,” Obama said during remarks at the Rose Garden. “Sometimes it seems to be the one thing that unifies the party these days. In fact, they were willing to shut down the government and potentially harm the global economy to try to get it repealed.”
The shutdown and debt crisis were both brought about by a quixotic effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), that was decried by many Republicans. But many of the same GOP lawmakers who criticized the tactics of the defunders have been quick to blast the glitchy rollout of the law, a political reality that Obama owned up to in his remarks.
“And I’m sure that given the problems with the website so far, they are going to be looking to go after it even harder,” he said. “And let’s admit it, with the website not working as well as it needs to work, that makes a lot of supporters nervous because they know how it’s been subject to so much attack — the Affordable Care Act generally. But I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website. That’s not what this was about.”
Obama said that millions have already benefitted from the Affordable Care Act by being granted access to affordable coverage and challenged Republicans to help improve the law.
“And in the meantime, I’ve said many times I’m willing to work with anyone on any idea to make this law perform even better,” Obama said. “But it’s time for folks to stop rooting for its failure because hard working middle class families are rooting for its success.”