Obama said he was confident the court would allow the full law to stand, not just because it is constitutional but also because of the “profound power that our Supreme Court has” and the restraint that comes with that. That expectation is why his administration is “not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies” needed if the court strikes down some or all of the law.
The president also defended the benefits of his healthcare law, including some especially controversial provisions, while attacking the healthcare effects of the Republican House-passed budget. The Republican budget, he said, would shift costs in Medicaid and Medicare from the federal government to the states and seniors, respectively.
Obama touted his own efforts to lower federal healthcare costs, including both those contained within the healthcare law and those he has proposed as part of a deficit-reduction package. Specifically, Obama highlighted the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which the 2010 law created to reduce future Medicare spending, and his plan to expand its budget-cutting mandate to achieve additional deficit reduction.
He described it as “a commission not made up of bureaucrats from government or insurance companies, but doctors and nurses and medical experts and consumers, who will look at all of the evidence and recommend the best way to reduce unnecessary healthcare spending while protecting access to the care that the seniors need.”
The House passed a measure last week to repeal the IPAB, which providers' advocates have repeatedly warned is likely to drive much of its savings from Medicare reimbursement rates for providers.
Republicans responded by bashing Obama's budget, which was unanimously rejected by the House on March 28, and by criticizing his remarks as an attempt to sway the Supreme Court's decision on the healthcare law.
“Only someone who would browbeat the court during the State of the Union, and whose administration stifled speech during the health care debate, would try to intimidate the court while it's deliberating one of the most consequential cases of our time,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) said in a written statement. “This president's attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court falls well beyond distasteful politics; it demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for our system of checks and balances.”