Obama: Not working on plan B for health care law

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks at The Associated Press luncheon during the ASNE Convention, Tuesday, April 3, 2012, in Washington. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Updated 4 p.m. ET

(CBS News) -- President Obama on Tuesday reiterated his prediction from a day earlier that the Supreme Court would uphold the constitutionality of the landmark health care law and said his administration is not working on a backup plan in case the nation's highest court throws out the signature legislative achievement of his presidency.

"I have enormous confidence that in looking at this law, not only is it constitutional, but that the court is going to exercise its jurisprudence carefully because of the profound power that our Supreme Court has," Mr. Obama told editors at the annual gathering of the Associated Press.  (watch some of Mr. Obama's remarks above at left)

"As a consequence, we are not spending a whole bunch of time planning for contingencies. What I did emphasize yesterday is there is a human element to this that everybody has to remember," he said, emphasizing that he gets letters everyday from people whose lives are affected by the 2010 law.

While he repeatedly expressed his optimism that the court would rule in favor of the law, Mr. Obama appeared to be laying down a political argument for the health care law in case he loses in court.

"I think what's more important is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to recognize that in a country like ours, the wealthiest, most powerful country on earth, we shouldn't have a system in which millions of people are at risk of bankruptcy because they get sick. Or end up waiting until they do get sick and then go to the emergency room which involves all of us paying for it," he said.

Following Mr. Obama's remarks, Senate Minority Leader McConnell accused Mr. Obama of attempting to "intimidate" the court and said the remarks demonstrate "a fundamental lack of respect for our system of checks and balances."

"Only someone who would browbeat the Court during the State of the Union, and whose administration stifled speech during the health care debate, would try to intimidate the Court while it's deliberating one of the most consequential cases of our time," McConnell said in a written statement. "This president's attempt to intimidate the Supreme Court falls well beyond distasteful politics; it demonstrates a fundamental lack of respect for our system of checks and balances."

Appeals court fires back at Obama's comments on health care case
CBSNews.com Special Report: Health Care Reform

  • Corbett Daly On Twitter»

    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

Comments