WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mitch McConnell mocked the health care reform law and the president on Friday, suggesting that if it had been as good as Democrats promised, there would have been a big party over at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to tout its success.
"I saw the president down at the White House," McConnell said during a Capitol Hill news conference. "I'm a little surprised but there wasn't a birthday cake to celebrate the second anniversary of Obamacare."
Republicans have been hammering away at the health care law all week, marking the second anniversary of the legislation and the Supreme Court's consideration of a legal challenge of the legislation next week.
McConnell's argument was that the reason the White House was not having a big celebration was because the Affordable Care Act has been a complete failure.
"We all noticed that not a whole lot is being said about the new law," McConnell said. "I have a pretty good reason for that. After two years, it is pretty clear that it's full of broken promises. Almost everything that was said about the law, predictions about how it would turn out have not worked out."
While President Barack Obama was not lighting birthday cake candles on Friday, the White House did release a study touting the benefits of the health care law.
The White House pointed to some 2.5 million young adults who have gotten health insurance through their parent’s plans, some 5.1 million seniors and people with disabilities who have saved more than $3.1 billion on prescription drugs through Medicare, the free preventive care services people can get, and the prohibiton against dropping people who get sick or denying coverage for preexisting conditions.
The administration also produced videos showing the law's impact on regular folks, while Cabinet officials toured the country discussing it.
“Today, two years after we passed health care reform, more young adults have insurance, more seniors are saving money on their prescription drugs, and more Americans can rest easy knowing they won’t be dropped from their insurance plans if they get sick,” said Obama. “The law has made a difference for millions of Americans, and over time, it will help give even more working and middle-class families the security they deserve.”
Still, McConnell was not impressed with by the act, charging that the law kills jobs and makes care more expensive.
"It’s a mess. This law is a mess," McConnell said. "It’s the single worst piece of legislation that’s passed certainly in the time I’ve been here."
McConnell also claimed that anyone who wants to get rid of the health care law, regardless of what the Supreme Court decides, knows what the solution is.
"The single most important thing we could do is replace the occupant of the White House," McConnell said, echoing a statement he's made before that his top job is to make Obama a one-term president.
Democrats were set to celebrate the law later on Friday in an event with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (D-Calif.)
Below is one of the White House videos.
UPDATE: 3:55 p.m. -- Obama's campaign embraced the anniversary online later Friday, launching a petition for people to declare "I like Obamacare," and tweeting "Happy birthday to Obamacare: two years in, the Affordable Care Act is making millions of Americans' lives better every day."
It also used the day as fodder for an email touting the law.
"If you're tired of the other side throwing around that word [Obamacare] like it's an insult, then join me in sending a message that we're proud of it," said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in the email, directing supporters to the petition.
Michael McAuliff covers politics and Congress for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.
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