To a chorus of cheers, whistles and a standing ovation, Vice President Biden addressed a group of community health care workers — calling them “the moral backbone of the country” and professionals who on the frontline of signing people up for Obamacare.
“For the first time in American history the idea that health care is a right and not a privilege is legislated,” said Biden.
He urged the audience gathered at the annual conference of the National Association of Community Health Centers, which serve primarily poor and rural communities, to push as hard as they can to sign up as many as people as possible before the March 31st deadline.
The more people are signed up, the less ability Congress has to turn back the law, he said.
“The higher the numbers, the more certitude this is going to last forever,” Biden said
Biden was fighting a sinus infection when he returned from his whirlwind diplomatic trip to Europe last week and was slightly hoarse as he pitched the merits of the Affordable Care Act to the enthusiastic crowd.
Biden talked about how the new law has already helped provide health insurance to people who never believed they would be covered.
“How many stories I’ve heard and you’ve experienced where a client’s walking out of the health care center crying with joy, that they never, ever thought this could happen?” Biden asked.
He stressed that the law is about providing peace of mind to America’s most vulnerable population. Continuing with President Obama’s push for young, healthy people to sign up, Biden said he wasn’t above using a little guilt and humor to appeal to young people who may feel they are invincible.
“Every kid you know out there haven’t signed up, remind them: You mother’s going to bed worried. You owe her,” he said.
Biden admitted that the massive problems with the healthcare.gov roll out made the jobs of those defending the law harder. He joked that President Obama was so patient during the first few weeks that he would have nominated him for “sainthood.”
“The president and I were as frustrated as anyone you could have ever — you ever knew,” he said.
Biden also took on the criticism that the law is too complicated and that people don’t like it now that it’s being implemented. Healthcare in general is complicated, he said, whether you have a “GED or a PHD.”
“The thing that always bothers me, anybody ever thought this was going to be easy never ever had insurance,” he said.