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Biden hits Trump over 'heartless' assault on ObamaCare during pandemic

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors Biden celebrates vaccine approval but warns 'current improvement could reverse' MORE attacked President TrumpDonald TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 MORE on Thursday for his legal efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act even amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling it "cruel" and "heartless."

"I think it's cruel, it's heartless, it's callous and it's all because in my view he can't abide the thought of letting stand one of President Obama's greatest achievements, the Affordable Care Act," Biden said in a speech in Lancaster, Pa.

"I cannot comprehend the cruelty that's driving him to inflict this pain on the very people he's supposed to serve," he said.

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The speech was timed to coincide with the deadline on Thursday for the Trump administration to file its legal brief in the Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit brought by GOP-led states seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act.

The Biden campaign and Democrats more broadly, who had already seized on the GOP lawsuit, are now linking it to the coronavirus crisis, saying people should not lose their health coverage during a pandemic. Democrats won back the House in 2018 in large part because of their focus on health care and are now repeating the emphasis in 2020.

Biden said people recovering from the coronavirus "would have their peace of mind stolen at that moment they needed it most," if the lawsuit succeeds and they lost their health coverage.

About 20 million people could lose coverage if the ACA were overturned.

Biden also hit Trump directly on his handling of the virus, including his recent remarks worrying that too much testing makes the country look bad.

Biden called for more testing, and said Trump was only looking out for himself.

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"He's like a child who can't believe this has happened to him," Biden said.

On his own health care proposal, Biden offered a few details, such as increasing subsidies to make premiums more affordable under the ACA and adding an optional government-run insurance plan or "public option."

"We need a public option now more than ever," he said, adding more details of the plan would come in the coming weeks.

House Democrats, also seizing on the Trump-backed lawsuit, will vote on a bill to increase subsidies and expand the ACA next week, though their bill does not include a public option.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiMcCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 After vote against coronavirus relief package, Golden calls for more bipartisanship in Congress Democrats don't trust GOP on 1/6 commission: 'These people are dangerous' MORE (D-Calif.) told The Washington Post earlier on Thursday that "health care for all Americans" would be the top policy priority in 2021 if Democrats win the House, Senate and White House, though she did not offer details.