A top U.S. Senate Democrat called the Affordable Care Act a "major political blunder" Tuesday, saying that President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats should have focused on fixing the economy instead, Reuters reported.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, said the party addressed the "wrong problem" when it opted to use the momentum of the passed stimulus bill to pursue healthcare reform, according to McClatchy DC.
"Americans were crying out for an end to the recession," Schumer said during a National Press Club speech in the District of Columbia, the Post reported, because they saw the moment as the best change to enact healthcare reform.
Schumer voted in favor of the ACA--and, he admitted, "The plight of uninsured Americans and the hardships caused by unfair insurance company practices certainly needed to be addressed." However, Schumer said, focusing on healthcare reform in 2009 and not the financial crisis told the middle class that the Democratic Party wasn't "paying enough attention" to its concerns, according to Reuters.
Of course, Schumer is hardly the only critic of healthcare reform. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration. The suit claims the delay to the ACA's employer mandate was unlawful, as were roughly $175 billion in payments to insurance companies. What's more, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to ACA health insurance subsidies next year, in a case that says the federal subsidies currently offered through Healthcare.gov aren't actually authorized under the law.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) quickly responded to Schumer's remarks. "There are more than 14 million reason why [he's] wrong," she told CNN, citing the number of Americans who signed up for health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges, who were allowed to stay on their parent's insurance plans through age 26 and who gained coverage through Medicaid expansion.
Other Obama supporters took to Twitter to support the President, saying that healthcare reform was something that had to be done, the Wall Street Journal reported.