GOP: Obama ‘in denial’ about healthcare law failures

Republicans in Congress are soundly rejecting President Obama’s calls this week to concede defeat in their years-long fight against the Affordable Care Act.

In a lengthy speech on Thursday, Obama urged GOP leaders to “stop pretending” they have an alternative to the law and get to work with the next president to approve some much-needed fixes.


But Republicans are making clear that they remain opposed and will not accept changes in the next Congress.

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisProgressive group launches campaign targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment Senate braces for bitter fight over impeachment rules Juan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump MORE (R-N.C.), whose home state is struggling with ObamaCare this year, used the GOP’s weekly address on Saturday to criticize Obama for being “in denial” about the law’s failures.

“Rather than admit Obamacare isn’t working, the president painted a rosy picture that doesn’t match the reality experienced by millions of Americans,” Tillis said in the address.

“Unfortunately, instead of working across the aisle to fix this mess, President Obama and congressional Democrats are in denial. In fact, they’re doubling-down on their support for this failed law,” he said.

Tillis argued that the effects of ObamaCare are particularly strong in his state.

North Carolina, where Republican Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrJuan Williams: Counting the votes to remove Trump Hillicon Valley: Apple, Barr clash over Pensacola shooter's phone | Senate bill would boost Huawei alternatives | DHS orders agencies to fix Microsoft vulnerability | Chrome to phase out tracking cookies Senators offer bill to create alternatives to Huawei in 5G tech MORE is locked in a heated reelection battle this fall, is among about a dozen battleground states facing struggles with the ObamaCare marketplace.

About 90 percent of all counties in North Carolina will have a single insurer to choose from next year, compared to about one-quarter of counties last year, according to a study by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is now the only insurer in nearly every county.

“To make matters worse,” Tillis added, “those same North Carolina families will also be hit with a nearly 25 percent premium increase hike next year.”

Obama has staunchly defended the law, arguing that it has expanded coverage to nearly 20 million people.

With double-digit premium hikes this year and high-profile insurer exits, many Democrats have been increasingly willing to address the law’s shortcomings.

Top Democrats, including presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCollins walks impeachment tightrope Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Hill.TV's Krystal Ball knocks Clinton's 'mean girl' comments against Sanders MORE, have called for boosting the subsidies, cracking down on the penalty for people without insurance and creating a “public option."

But Republicans, who are likely to hold onto control of the House next year, already say they’ll refuse those changes.

“They want to increase the subsidies, they want to make the penalty more onerous and they want the public option,” Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessOvernight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers Lawmakers express alarm over rise in cocaine overdose deaths Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware MORE (R-Texas) said in an interview Friday. “None of those things would move the needle one bit.”

Next month’s election is considered crucial for the fate of the president’s landmark law.

If Trump is elected, much of it could be repealed within the first year.

If Clinton is elected, the Affordable Care Act will have been law for more than a decade by the end of her term – making it even tougher to repeal.

For now, Republicans are sticking to talking about repeal.

“At this point, one thing is clear: This law can't be fixed,” House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHill.TV's Saagar Enjeti rips Sanders for 'inability to actually fight with bad actors' in party Biden fires back at Sanders on Social Security Warren now also knocking Biden on Social Security MORE (R-Wis.) said after Obama's speech Thursday.