Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden made his first campaign stop in Oakland County on Friday to discuss how he would protect and expand access to affordable health care.
Biden spoke inside an empty gymnasium at the Beech Woods Recreation Center, located in Southfield. The visit comes one day following Biden's ABC News town hall in Pennsylvania.
Later in the day, Biden attended a virtual meeting with African American faith leaders. He then stopped at the former State Fairgrounds in Detroit to speak at a voter mobilization event, urging Michiganders to vote early in person at their local clerk's office or satellite voting center, which will be pooled press.
This was Biden's third trip to Michigan since September with recent trips also made by his running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff.
In Southfield, Biden spoke about his plan to build upon the Affordable Care Act, which he says has helped to expand access to health care for more than 20 million Americans and protect more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The former vice president said his comprehensive health care plan would bring down costs, including through a new public health insurance option.
“My health care plan lowers health care costs and gets universal coverage quickly,” says Biden. “If Trump gets his way, 20 million Americans will lose their healthcare and 100 million will lose protections for pre-existing conditions.
“Getting rid of Obamacare is the reason (Republicans) are racing to get (Amy Coney Barrett) approved for the Supreme Court,” he said.
He added that he will treat your family like his own family. “Folks, we can bring this economy back. I’m positive and optimistic about that.”
Biden says he will “invest in people” and create over 17 million new jobs, resulting in a $1 trillion jolt to the economy.
“My economic plan will create millions of good paying union jobs.”
“Trump only sees the world from a Park Avenue perspective. I see the world from where I grew up in Scranton.”
Biden concluded his speech by making clear that this election is about "truth over lies."
"Hate never goes away. It only hides. And if you give it oxygen it grows. So we need to be clear; from the President on down in this country, there is no place for hate in America. President Trump revels in division and chaos. He will do anything to distract us from focusing on his failures to deal with this virus and protect this nation."
Among those in attendance Friday was U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and Oakland County Executive David Coulter.
Peters, in a closely watched fight to retain his senate seat, said Michigan needs national leaders to guide us through this pandemic. "Joe Biden has proved that he can deliver that type of leadership,” he said.
“The focus today is on how important it is that everybody in this country has access to quality and affordable health care, particularly now while we are in the midst of a pandemic," Peters said.
Whitmer was even more blunt: “Health care for millions of people is on this ballot.”
“In this upcoming election, our choice couldn’t be more clear," she said. "The Trump Administration keeps fighting to take your health care away. They contradict their own science and guidance.”
Alexia Mansour, an East Lansing business owner and mother of three, also spoke at the Southfield event. She spoke about how her family receives their health care through the Affordable Care Act's individual marketplace and how she support's Biden's effort to protect the ACA for millions of Americans.
Before the ACA become law, Mansour said her family was uninsured up until 2014 due to the rising costs of health care. She said her husband's mental health was "always worsened" when he couldn't see a doctor or have access to medical care. She added that Biden will be a president for "all people, no matter if you voted for him."
"I bet we were one of the first families that signed up for coverage when the ACA marketplace became available," she said. "My husband works seven days a week just to keep our business doors open, but having health care gives us the peace of mind we need to get through this challenge. The Trump Administration and the U.S. Senate is playing games with our family's lives (by trying to repeal the ACA)."
A recent poll from WDIV- Detroit News, showed that “57.7% of Michigan voters say the Supreme Court should leave the Affordable Care Act in place. Only 28.1% of Michigan voters believe the Affordable Care Act should be overturned and ruled unconstitutional.”
In 2016, 51.3% of Oakland County voters chose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over then Republican nominee Donald Trump, who received 43.2% of the vote. Statewide, Michiganders narrowly chose Trump over Clinton with 47.3% of the vote to Clinton's 47%.
Over the past four years, Oakland County has been turning more and more blue. In 2018, the county board of commissioners became a Democratic majority for the first time since 1976. Five of the county's top six elected officials are Democrats with Sheriff Michael Bouchard as the lone Republican.
Michigan, a battleground state, remains one of the most critical states for both Biden and Trump. In 2016, Michigan's 16 electoral college votes handed Trump the 270 he needed to win the White House.
Recent polls show Biden up 7-10 percentage points in Michigan, a state Trump won by 10,704 votes in 2016, which is the closest race for president in Michigan’s history.
His running mate, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California), is conducting virtual campaign events this weekend. Harris' in person campaign events have been canceled through Sunday due to her recent exposure to someone with COVID-19. The senator has repeatedly tested negative for the virus and is expected to resume in person campaigning on Monday.
On Friday, the Biden campaign announced that former President Barack Obama would be making his first in person appearance on the campaign trail. Obama will be visiting Philadelphia on Wednesday, Oct. 21.
Magic Johnson, the NBA hall of famer and Michigan State University alum, will be making visits to Detroit and East Lansing on Saturday to campaign for Biden.