Former Vice President Joe Biden slammed the GOP health care bill Monday, saying the denial of basic health care access for Americans is enough “to make your blood boil.”
“They want to drag us back to a time — not all that long ago — when Americans could be denied basic health care because they were unable to afford it. That’s the reality of where we are today and it’s enough to make your blood boil,” Biden wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Monday.
The former vice president also called the Senate Republicans’ bill “fundamentally flawed,” citing how cuts in Medicaid expansion would hurt Americans with disabilities, nursing home residents, and rural hospitals, among others.
While Biden acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act “isn’t perfect,” he maintained that the Obama administration designed their health care bill “to provide the best possible care to the most people.”
Now, Biden warned, the Senate version would make health care a privilege for the wealthy, instead of a basic right for all Americans. “Let’s again make the commitment that in America, health care is a right for all, not a privilege for the wealthy,” Biden wrote in the op-ed.
But in order to improve the ACA, Biden urged that Senate Republicans must first agree on the basic premise that “everyone should have health care,” and only then can they debate the most effective ways to fix the American health care system.
“In my 36 years as a senator, I saw my colleagues take plenty of hard votes. This just isn’t one of them,” Biden added.
Biden’s op-ed comes as Senate Republicans unveiled a revised version of their health care bill last Thursday, and GOP leaders had planned a vote, or at least to take the procedural steps toward a vote, in the upcoming week.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Saturday that the Senate will delay consideration of the Republican health care bill while Sen. John McCain recovers from eye surgery for a blood clot. McCain’s absence would have imperiled the bill, which needs the support of 50 of 52 GOP senators to advance.
In a final cautionary note to GOP lawmakers, Biden wrote in his op-ed that if Republicans pass their version of the bill, they will take away “peace of mind” from Americans currently covered under Obamacare.
“And if they take that peace of mind away, they’ll have to look Americans in the eye and explain to them that they have to start worrying again,” Biden said.