LANCASTER, Pa. (CN) — Speaking to families Thursday who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act, former Vice President Joe Biden called President Donald Trump cruel and heartless for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the landmark health care legislation known as Obamacare.
“I cannot comprehend the cruelty that’s driving him to inflict this pain on the very people he is supposed to serve,” Biden said.
Indeed, the Trump administration is expected to file a brief Thursday to invalidate the act after the justices agreed to take up the lawsuit in early March.
In his nearly 20-minute speech, Biden called out the president for calling Covid-19 testing a double-edged sword during a campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday.
“Let’s be crystal clear about what he means by that. Testing unequivocally saves lives and widespread testing is the key to opening the economy, that’s one edge,” said Biden. “The other edge is that he thinks that finding out more Americans are sick will make him look bad.”
Biden also stressed the importance of wearing a mask, saying it is “the single most effective thing we can do.”
While Biden said he will be unveiling more specifics about his health care plan, he noted that if elected he would move for universal coverage quickly.
“Here’s the bottom line, my plan lowers health care costs and gets us universal coverage quickly when Americans desperately need it now,” Biden said.
He also said that his plan will add a public option and lower premiums and drug costs.
Biden stressed the importance for Americans to have access to health care right with 20 million Americans out of work.
“They don’t need a president to go into court to deny them the health care they now have,” said Biden. “They need a president who will go into the White House and fight like hell to make sure they get the health care they need.”
Biden added that health care is personal for him, mentioning the death of his son Beau from cancer in 2015.
Ending the speech, Biden said there is nothing he takes more seriously than health care.
“That’s what the presidency is, the duty to care,” said Biden. “No trust is more sacred, no responsibility more solemn, no purpose more fundamental than for a president to do absolutely everything to protect American lives.”
A coalition of 23 Democratic attorneys general led by New York Attorney General Letitia James all endorsed Biden Thursday, noting his commitment to “aggressively defend Americans’ access to quality, affordable health coverage.”
“There is only one person on the ballot this fall who will fight to defend the Affordable Care Act, fight to rebuild our economy, and fight for the American people, and that man is Joe Biden,” said James.
In an open letter, the attorneys general condemned the president for his handling of the pandemic and his attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
“The Trump administration continues to back the Republican attorneys general lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act wholesale, as states across the country are confronting the harrowing reality of the Covid-19 pandemic that has taken the lives of more than 122,000 Americans,” said the coalition. “Donald Trump’s efforts to strip health care away from tens of millions of Americans, including those with preexisting conditions, is immoral and unlawful; his mismanagement of the pandemic has been incompetent and catastrophic.”
The other attorneys general endorsing Biden come from Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington state, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia.
Biden was previously endorsed by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan and Pennsylvania.