By Sam Youngman - 03/25/10 06:06 PM EDT
President Barack Obama on Thursday flipped into campaign mode and dared Republicans to repeal the healthcare law.
With his signature agenda item signed into law, Obama switched from selling the bill to aggressively promoting it during a speech in Iowa City, Iowa, the town where Obama announced his healthcare reform agenda as a candidate in 2007.
Just a month ago at the healthcare summit with Republicans, Obama said he didn’t know “how this plays politically, but I know it’s right.”
On Thursday, Obama showed he believes the passage of reform plays to his party’s strength.
Obama made it clear he relishes the chance to campaign in favor of the healthcare law in advance of November’s midterm elections and that he sees the issue as a political winner for his party.
“If they want to have that fight, I welcome that fight,” Obama said. “Because I don’t believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver’s seat. We’ve been there already and we’re not going back. This country is ready to move forward.”
Obama said Republican efforts to repeal the legislation
would harm individuals who had been thrown off insurance rolls and protect
Obama’s speech highlights growing confidence in the White House and the Democratic Party that they have seized political momentum with the healthcare vote.
While dozens of Democrats face possible defeat in November’s elections, the party believes it has seen the worst of the political cycle.
Republicans who described the healthcare reform as a disaster for the country are now blasting the delays in reform that come as part of the legislation.
Obama warned that it “will take about four years to
implement this entire plan — because we need to do it responsibly and we need
to get it right.”
“That means that healthcare costs won’t go down overnight,” Obama said.
Obama described Iowa, where he won the first-in-the-nation caucuses in 2008, as the state “where change began.”
“Three years ago, I came here to make a promise. Just a few months into our campaign, I stood at the University of Iowa hospital right around the corner and promised that by the end of my first term in office, I would sign a health insurance reform bill,” Obama said.
“On Tuesday, after a year of debate and a century of trying, after so many of you shared your stories and your heartaches and your hopes, that promise was finally fulfilled. And today, health insurance reform is the law of the land."