Obama refers to Biden as 'vice president' at White House event, says it 'was all set up'

Alongside Obama at the White House, Biden proposed a change to Obamacare at 12th anniversary event

Updated: April 6, 2022 - 10:16am

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Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday referred to President Joe Biden as "vice president" when he took the podium at a 12th anniversary Affordable Care Act event at the White House on Tuesday.

When the audience laughed, Obama responded, saying, "That was a joke, that was all set up."

Obama then said, "my president, Joe Biden."

Obama also said he "intended to get health care passed even if it costed me re-election, which for a while, looked like it might."

Biden announced a change to the 2010 law more commonly known as Obamacare and formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Obama's signature, government-backed measure was a major overhaul to the U.S. health care system to make medical insurance more affordable and accessible to Americans with taxpayer-subsidized medical plans through a health insurance marketplace.

When Biden took the stage, he told the audience, "I'm Joe Biden and I'm Barack Obama's vice president."

Biden later said the ACA has been "called a lot of things" but "Obamacare is the most fitting."

The gathering Tuesday marked Obama's first time returning to the White House since his presidency.

The policy change addresses the so-called "family glitch" in the Affordable Care Act, which refers to a provision of the law that allows an individual to qualify for a subsidized Obamacare plan if their employer-based plan rises above a pre-set percentage, regardless of how many family members are covered.

In other words, the percentage increase was calculated based on the premium of the individual employee rather than the total amount with dependents. 

During the event, Vice President Kamala Harris called on Congress to permanently expand the taxpayer subsidies for Obamacare plans. Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan temporarily expanded the subsidies. 

Harris also urged 12 states that haven't expanded Medicaid coverage to change course.

"Every person in our nation should be able to access and afford the healthcare they need to thrive, not as a privilege, but as a right," she said. 

On his way out of the event, Obama was asked for his response to Democrats worried about the midterm elections.

"We've got a story to tell, we've just got to tell it," Obama replied.