Former President Barack Obama told donors during the question and answer segment of a Thursday fundraiser that he tried to convince then-President elect Donald Trump to rename and take credit for Obamacare instead of repealing it.
“I said to the incoming president, ‘Just change the name and claim that you made these wonderful changes and I would be like, ‘You go,”” he said, according to CNN. “Because I didn’t have pride of authorship, I just wanted people to have health care.”
President Trump chose not the take his predecessor’s advice and attempted to persuade Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year, but they failed to garner enough votes in the Senate to do so.
At the fundraiser, former President Obama said they “couldn’t do it despite controlling all branches of government in Washington. They couldn’t do it because we had actually thought it through and it’s a hard thing to do.”
While the GOP was unable to fully repeal Obamacare, they did dismantle parts of it, including the individual mandate — a move the former president has said “essentially repealed Obamacare” due to the possibility that insurers may drop out and fewer consumers may enroll.
Former President Obama has long called for conservatives to rename Obamacare if it meant they’d keep it intact, saying in 2016, “They can even change the name of the law to Reagancare or they can call it Paul Ryancare. I don’t care about credit. I just want it to work.”
At the fundraiser, he also addressed the notion that he pushed for more comprehensive healthcare coverage for Americans out of concern for his own legacy.
“The idea that I somehow took on health care just because I thought it was fun or it would somehow burnish my legacy is nuts,” he said. “Because we knew going in in 2008 that every president since Teddy Roosevelt had failed to do what every other advanced democracy in the world has done.”