By Elise Viebeck - 01/23/14 10:48 AM EST
Vice President Biden urged hundreds of ObamaCare activists and healthcare experts on Thursday to redouble their efforts to promote the law, as the rollout sees improvement.
"You gotta stay at it," Biden told the annual conference of Families USA, a consumer advocacy group. "It got off to a rocky start. But enrollment is up … [and] we will not go back."
The aftermath produced a monthslong political crisis for the White House that depressed President Obama's poll numbers and opened a new front for attacks on Democratic candidates.
Biden focused Thursday on the origins of the Affordable Care Act and the state of the health insurance market before the law passed in 2010.
He praised grassroots activists for supporting reform and working to help enroll the uninsured in new coverage options, like Medicaid, in states that have chosen to expand the program.
The Obama administration is seeking to place pressure on Republican-led states that have refused to accept billions of dollars to extend Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults. That debate has become a central part of Democrats' effort to play offense amid persistent Republican attacks on ObamaCare and its rollout.
"If Republican governors … would act responsibly, we could immediately cover another 5 million people," Biden said to applause at the Washington, D.C., gathering.
Many GOP governors argue that, while the federal government will foot 90 percent or more of the bill to expand Medicaid, the policy will ultimately drain state budgets.