Biden calls Trump's refusal to concede 'an embarrassment'

President-elect pledges major expansion of healthcare coverage

President-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris addressed the public on Tuesday after a US Supreme Court hearing that considered eliminating Obamacare.

The pair offered their support for the healthcare bill that Mr Biden helped to design.

Ms Harris said that Mr Biden “won the election decisively” and that “every vote for Joe Biden was a statement that health care in America should be a right, not a privilege".

US Supreme Court justices indicated that they were unlikely to strike down the healthcare law.

Mr Biden slammed "far-right ideologues" for bringing forward the case, which would mean healthcare coverage for 20 million Americans would be "ripped away in the middle of the nation's worst pandemic".

The legal challenge was brought by Texas and 17 other Republican-governed states and joined by President Donald Trump's administration.

Mr Biden said the fact that Mr Trump and the Republican party were "not willing to acknowledge we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning".

"I just think it's an embarrassment, quite frankly," he said of Mr Trump's refusal to concede.

The Biden team is moving forward with plans for "a dramatic expansion" of healthcare coverage.

"I will protect your health care like I protect my kids and my own family," Mr Biden said.

He said that unfortunately, his family has had to use healthcare often.

The Supreme Court case centres on the "individual mandate" to obtain insurance, which originally carried a tax penalty for non-compliance.

A Republican-controlled Congress later eliminated the penalty.

During two hours of arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts and fellow conservative Brett Kavanaugh showed scepticism towards the stance by the Republican challengers that the entire law must fall if a single key provision, the individual mandate, is found to be unconstitutional.

Mr Roberts asked questions suggesting that because Congress did not repeal the entire law when they annulled the penalty, all of Obamacare should not be invalidated because of this one change.

If Mr Roberts and Mr Kavanaugh join the court's three liberals in the court's eventual ruling due by the end of June, most of Obamacare will survive.

"It's hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate was struck down," said Mr Roberts, who wrote 2012 and 2015 rulings that upheld Obamacare in Republican legal challenges.

Mr Kavanaugh, who was appointed by Mr Trump, also expressed doubt that the entire bill should be struck down.

"It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the act in place," he said.

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