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Bloomberg claims he's a 'fan' of Obamacare at debate after previously calling it a ‘disgrace’

He says he thinks it didn't go far enough

Mario Tama/Getty Images

During Wednesday night's Democratic primary debate, 2020 presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said that he supported Obamacare despite previously calling the 2010 health care law "a disgrace" shortly after its passage.

Responding to a criticism from rival candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and a moderator's related question about his earlier criticism of the health care law, the former New York City mayor said, "I am a fan of Obamacare."

"Since when, Mr. Mayor?" the former vice president shot back, interrupting Bloomberg's answer.

Bloomberg responded that he initially supported the legislation, but that it ultimately didn't go far enough for his liking.

"Mr. Vice President, I just checked the record, because you'd said one time that I was not," the mayor said. "In '09, I testified and gave a speech before the mayors' conference in Washington advocating it and trying to get all the mayors to sign on. And I think at that time I wrote an article praising Obamacare. It was either in the New York Post or the Daily News. So the facts are I was there."

"Didn't you call it a disgrace, though, Mr. Mayor?" Biden persisted, interrupting the answer yet again.

"Let me finish, thank you," Bloomberg told Biden.

"I was in favor of it; I thought it didn't do as, go as far as we should," the former mayor continued. "What Trump has done to this is a disgrace. The first thing we've got to do is get the White House and bring back those things that were left and then find the ways to expand it: another public option, to having some rules about capping charges, all of those things."

Being given a chance to respond by one of the debate moderators, Biden once again went after Bloomberg's past comments.

"The mayor said when we passed it — the signature piece of this administration — it's a disgrace," the former vice president said. "They're the exact words, it was a disgrace. Look it up, check it out: It was a disgrace."

The remarks that Biden was referring to came just months after Obamacare was passed at a July 2010 appearance at Dartmouth College, CNN reported over the weekend.

"We passed a health care bill that does absolutely nothing to fix the big health care problems in this country; it is just a disgrace," the former mayor said at the time. "The president, in all fairness, started out by pointing out what the big problems were, but then turned it over to Congress, which didn't pay any attention to any of those big problems and just created another program that's going to cost a lot of money."

He also voiced concerns that there wouldn't be enough doctors for the newly insured "and unless they fix immigration and let people who come here for medical education stay here, those people are just going to do the same thing. They're going to have to go to the emergency rooms where they've been except that now it's going to cost a lot more money."

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