The Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as Obamacare, is one of former President Obama’s greatest achievements. This historic piece of legislation has saved countless lives as it provided an avenue for America’s poorest and sickest citizens to receive the affordable health care they deserve.
On its seventh anniversary, Obama has written an homage to the ACA, celebrating the benefit it has done to American society as a whole. He begins by commending the fact that, after decades of effort, it was this generation that helped make the ACA happen:
When I took office, millions of Americans were locked out of our health care system. So, just as leaders in both parties had tried to do since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, we took up the cause of health reform…ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody.
He then moves on to summarizing the good things that the ACA has done for the American health care system:
The result was the Affordable Care Act, which I signed into law seven years ago today. Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured – the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past. Seniors have bigger discounts on their prescription drugs. Young people can stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26 years old. And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well – from free preventive care, like mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far.
Obama then begins to address more recent developments, namely the Republican argument that Obamacare is in a “death spiral.” This is one of the common myths about the ACA, and Obama refutes it masterfully.
And reality continues to discredit the false claim that this law is in a “death spiral,” because while it’s true that some premiums have risen, the vast majority of Marketplace enrollees have experienced no average premium hike at all. And so long as the law is properly administered, this market will remain stable. Likewise, this law is no “job-killer,” because America’s businesses went on a record-breaking streak of job growth in the seven years since I signed it.
Obama then makes a strong statement in favor of the ACA, and gives Republicans a warning, and a suggestion, about their attempts to replace the ACA.
So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act. There will always be work to do to reduce costs, stabilize markets, improve quality, and help the millions of Americans who remain uninsured in states that have so far refused to expand Medicaid… if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats…we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better, not worse for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority.
Obama concludes his statement with poignant congratulations to those that campaigned to make it happen. He talks about not just the physical benefits the ACA provides, but the moral ones too, as it improved the character of America.
The Affordable Care Act is law only because millions of Americans mobilized, and organized, and decided that this fight was about more than health care – it was about the character of our country. It was about whether the wealthiest nation on Earth would make sure that neither illness nor twist of fate would rob us of everything we’ve worked so hard to build. It was about whether we look out for one another, as neighbors, and fellow citizens, who care about each other’s success. This fight is still about all that today. And Americans who love their country still have the power to change it.
It must be hard for Obama to watch the Republicans attempt, poorly, to gut his legacy on the House floor. To see his creation mercilessly, and falsely, tarnished by individuals who want to replace it with a tax cut for the rich and a price hike for the poor would make anyone’s blood boil. But in typical Obama fashion, the former president had the style and grace not to openly attack Republicans or the
But, in typical Obama fashion, the former president had the style and grace not to openly attack Republicans or their failing health bill. Instead, he provided thoughtful words on what makes the ACA great, even providing Republicans with some suggestions for their own healthcare efforts. Whether they listen to him, or bury their heads further in the sand, remains to be seen.
Read the entire statement here.