By Julian Pecquet - 03/21/12 07:42 PM EDT
President Obama has been a no-show on the law's second anniversary, but Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) says he's fine with that.
Miller, the chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, recalled Wednesday how "proud" he was to stand by Obama two years ago when the president signed healthcare reform into law.
"He's been very outspoken on healthcare, and I think the opponents of the plan have made the case for him," Miller told The Hill. The Supreme Court case challenging the law's individual mandate, which starts next week," is where the administration should be focusing its talents."
House Democrats have taken the lead this week in marking the law's anniversary on Capitol Hill, even as the White House and Senate Democrats have stayed largely silent. Administration officials acknowledged Tuesday that the president won't offer a vigorous public defense of the law, hold events or even make public remarks in the lead-up to the Supreme Court case.
The White House however points out that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has toured the country to defend the law this week, and other administration officials have also marked the anniversary in op-eds and at public events.
"If the president is so proud of his signature policy initiative he should own it and continue campaigning on it," said Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. "Instead, the White House is attempting to distance themselves from the president's namesake because it's clear Americans believe ObamaCare is making healthcare worse instead of better."
Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), who joined Miller at an event marking the law's benefits for young adults, said the president's got bigger fish to fry.
"I'm not disappointed at anything the president has done," he said. "He did what eight presidents before him attempted to do, which is to reform healthcare. … So now it's up to us in Congress to stand behind him and help it survive."
—Amie Parnes contributed.