Orrin Hatch
During a speech about GOP tax overhaul at the American Enterprise Institute on Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took a dig at the people who still believe in benefits of Obamacare. In this photo, Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talk with reporters following the weekly Senate Republican Policy Committee luncheon in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Nov. 28, 2017. Getty Images/ Chip Somodevilla

During a speech about GOP tax overhaul at the American Enterprise Institute on Thursday, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) took a dig at the people who still believe in the benefits of Obamacare.

"(We) finally did away with the individual mandate tax that was established under that wonderful bill called Obamacare," Hatch said. "Now, if you didn't catch on, I was being very sarcastic. That was the stupidest, dumba-- bill that I've ever seen."

"Some of you may have loved it. If you do, you are one of the stupidest, dumba-- people I've ever met," Hatch added. "There are a lot of them up there on Capitol Hill from time to time."

Before his comment could face significant backlash, Hatch spokesman Matt Whitlock rushed to make damage control.

“The comments were obviously made in jest, but what’s not a joke is the harm Obamacare has caused for countless Utahns,” Whitlock told Deseret News.

According to a December 2017 report by the Salt Lake Tribune, around 195,000 Utahns signed up for health insurance under Obamacare for 2018 – a figure that mimicked the enrollment number of 2017, despite the fact that the enrollment window assigned for Affordable care Act 2018 was almost half of 2017.

However, it is noteworthy to mention that the final tally provided by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did not match the total number of enrollers mentioned by Utah’s two remaining Obamacare insurers.

The first one, Intermountain Healthcare SelectHealth, said 130,000 people had applied for coverage in 2018, while University of Utah Health Plans, the second insurer, signed up 25,000 Utahns for Obamacare 2018, bringing their total tally to 155,000, which fell behind CMS’s tally.

The popularity of Affordable Care Act among Americans have been the highest since 2010, according to Health Tracking Poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, released Thursday.

About 54 percent of the people who participated in the poll view Obamacare favorably, while 42 percent were not in favor of it.

Hatch, the longest serving Republican in the senate, said the former President Barack Obama’s namesake healthcare was one of the most “regressive taxes” in the tax code. He added one of the “great ironies” was the fact that under the Affordable Care Act, the lower-income families ended up "paying most of the freight.”

After the GOP failed to repeal and replace Obamacare in 2017, it found a way to weaken it by eliminating individual mandate penalty for not having health insurance, a law that will be enforced starting 2019. Till 2018, the penalty for going uncovered is $695 for every individual or 2.5 percent of total household income in excess of tax filing thresholds, whichever is higher, Time reported.

Following the approval of the new tax plan, President Donald Trump tweeted: “The United States Senate just passed the biggest in history Tax Cut and Reform Bill. Terrible Individual Mandate (ObamaCare) Repealed. Goes to the House tomorrow morning for final vote. If approved, there will be a News Conference at The White House at approximately 1:00 P.M.”