LEW: You know, I think if you look at where we are now versus where we were a couple of years ago, the American people are starting to experience the benefits of this law. For students who are getting out of college and didn't have a job, they can stay on their parents' health plan. For senior citizens who were paying $600 in what was called the donut hole, the Medicare, that's now something that they don't have to pay for.
For families with children with pre-existing conditions, they don't have to worry about lifetime limits or about whether those pre-existing conditions means that they won't have insurance. This is something that will provide security and protection for America's families, and they're beginning to see it. They're beginning to experience it.
I think that the American people do not want to go back to a divisive debate about health care. The Congress passed the law. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. The arguments that are being made now to reopen that fight are the wrong arguments. What we need to be doing is focusing on growing the economy and growing jobs for the middle class.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't think this election is a referendum on the president's health care plan?
LEW: I think this -- this election will be about the economy. The American people are focused on the economy. They're asking the question, what are we doing to get it going?
The president's proposed things that Congress should act on, that would put teachers, firemen, and -- and policemen back to work, that would take veterans and help them get jobs. It would help people who are underwater refinance their homes.
If the president's plan had been enacted, there would be a million more jobs. Congress should get to work on those things. And, you know, frankly, when you look at the choices right now, right now the debate is going to be about very different visions of the future. You've got a Republican tax plan that would provide $5 trillion of benefits, mostly to people earning over $1 million, and how would it be paid for? Independent studies have shown that the only way to do that without creating a bigger deficit would be to cut tax benefits that go to middle-class families, things like the mortgage interest deduction, the health exclusion, and charitable contributions.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And I'll ask Congressman Ryan about that. But before we go, I want to ask you one more question. I wonder what the president makes of the fact that this legislation was saved by Chief Justice Roberts. I mean, he clearly voted against confirming Roberts because he said he wasn't sure that the justice's heart would be in the right place, would be the right guide in tough cases, and he went on to say this.
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OBAMA: I hope that I'm wrong. I hope that he'll recognize who the weak and who the strong are in our society. And I hope that his jurisprudence is one that stands up to the bullies of all ideological stripes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: So does the president now believe that he was wrong about Roberts?