(Bloomberg) – President Barack Obama said Thursday that Republicans should try to improve the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) rather than pushing ahead with attempts to kill the law.

“We now know for a fact that repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit, raise premiums for millions of Americans and take away insurance from millions more,” Obama said at a PPACA public exchange program news conference.

The White House organized the news conference to announce that the commercial “qualified health plans” (QHPs) sold through the PPACA public exchanges have attracted 8 million people.

Officials gave little information about the 8 million signup article and did not say whether the figure referred to people who have simply chosen QHP coverage or actually paid for coverage.

Obama did use the news conference as a chance to criticize PPACA opponents.

“They still can’t bring themselves to admit that the Affordable Care Act is working,” Obama said.

Obama said Republicans should move on from “endless, fruitless” attempts to repeal PPACA.

Obama said he would welcome discussion with Republicans on “things that need to be improved, that need to be tweaked.” Republicans, though, are “going through the stages of grief,” he said. “We’re not at acceptance yet.”

Obama concluded his remarks by criticizing states that have refused to expand their Medicaid programs under the health law because of “ideological reasons.”

“You’ve got 5 million people who could be having health insurance right now at no cost to these states, zero cost to these states,” Obama said, holding up his fingers in the shape of a zero. “That’s wrong. It should stop.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said his party will continue to work to repeal PPACA.

“Countless Americans have unexpectedly been forced out of the plans they had and liked, are now shouldering dramatically higher premiums, and can no longer use the doctors and hospitals they choose,” he said in a statement.

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