Reid: Obamacare Has 'Dropped Way Down in Significance'

By Susan Jones | March 27, 2014 | 6:32 AM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) (AP File Photo)

( - As he outlined the Democrats' "agenda for the middle class" on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told a news conference that "in Nevada and around the country, we have people sitting at their kitchen tables or in their living rooms expecting us to do something to help them."

Reid said the Democrats' priorities "reflect the priorities of the middle class," including "fairness and opportunity for all." But what about Obamacare?

"So Obamacare -- if you do a poll of anyone, that's dropped way down in significance," Reid said.

He insisted that the recent congressional election in Florida, won by a Republican who campaigned against Obamacare, had nothing to do with Obamacare: "That was a district that was very, very white and quite old. It's a district that had been Republican for 60 years," Reid said, ignoring the fact that voters there twice went for President Obama.

Reid defended the administration's latest tweak to Obamacare: a two-week extension for people to enroll after the March 31 deadline.

"There's no hiccup or delay," he insisted. "We have hundreds of thousands of people who tried to sign up and they didn't get through."

Reid said some people need extra time because they don't know how to use the Internet:

"There are some people, who are not like my grandchildren who can handle everything so easily on the Internet, and these people need a little extra time."

He pointed to a recent report on public radio describing a 63-year-old woman who was unable to complete her online application because she kept getting bumped off the website: "We have a lot of people just like this," Reid said. "No, it's through no fault of the Internet, because people are not educated (on) how to use the Internet.

"So this (extension) is not anything other than the right thing to do, for heaven's sakes. I don't know how many thousands and thousands of people will be able to have health care as a result of extending this time. This is the right to do."

Reid said  he doesn't know how many Americans are going to sign up for Obamacare, but he expects it to be a "high number."  "Yesterday, someone told me they thought it would be 6.5 million. I don't know how high it will be, will be high."

Reid also criticized Republicans who are complaining about the administration giving people more time to enroll in Obamacare, beyond March 31:

"So to extend the time is -- as I indicated when I made this opening statement, to have somebody criticize the possibility of people getting health care -- yeah, if we hadn't extended it I guess they would have criticized them for not doing it. So I just think that -- I just think the criticism about extending the time is just so -- you know, they should be trying to help people get health care, not delaying it."

Reid also complained that Republicans have not said "one constructive word" about the health care law, which passed in 2010 without a single Republican vote: "[T]hey oppose anything that's good about Obamacare, anything good about anything this administration tries to do...That's why the country is in the situation it's in."

Also See:
Schumer: Middle-Class Concerns 'Trump the Republican Attacks on the Affordable Care Act'