Biden to attack Trump on healthcare in election battleground state

LANCASTER, Penn. (Reuters) – Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden on Thursday traveled to must-win Pennsylvania to attack President Donald Trump for what the former vice president will characterize as trying to gut healthcare protections during a pandemic.

Biden, who was born in the Pennsylvania rust-belt city of Scranton, has mostly stayed put in his Delaware home in recent months amid coronavirus concerns, but has slowly resumed some campaigning. He is headed to Lancaster to try to weaken the Republican president’s standing with swing-state voters.

Trump, meanwhile, planned visits to Green Bay and Marinette, Wisconsin, another critical battleground in his Nov. 3 re-election bid, where he was expected to address police reform and manufacturing. Recent polls show Trump trailing Biden in both states.

The Trump administration is expected to file papers with the Supreme Court on Thursday asking them to declare the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, illegal. The law was the signature legislative achievement of Biden’s time as Barack Obama’s vice president.

Biden will call Trump’s effort a “heartless crusade to take healthcare protections away from American families” in the middle of a pandemic, according to excerpts from a planned speech.

Trump has faulted both the cost and coverage under Obamacare and has promised to replace it with a better plan, a pledge he has been making since his 2016 campaign.

“The president will always support coverage for people with pre-existing conditions,” said Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. Murtaugh also said he does not put stock in public opinion polls.

Democrats believe promises to defend Obamacare in 2018 won them moderate voters and control of the House of Representatives, and they want to make it a key issue again this year.

House Democrats unveiled a bill on Wednesday that would provide more tax credits for low-income people’s healthcare and offers more healthcare funding to states. The effort is unlikely to win support from Republicans.

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