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Obama on Health Care Repeal

[This was posted to Facebook yesterday by Barack Obama.]

Our politics are divided. They have been for a long time. And while I know that division makes it difficult to listen to Americans with whom we disagree, that’s what we need to do today.

I recognize that repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has become a core tenet of the Republican Party. Still, I hope that our Senators, many of whom I know well, step back and measure what’s really at stake, and consider that the rationale for action, on health care or any other issue, must be something more than simply undoing something that Democrats did.

We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain – we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course.

Nor did we fight for it alone. Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.

And you made a difference. For the first time, more than ninety percent of Americans know the security of health insurance. Health care costs, while still rising, have been rising at the slowest pace in fifty years. Women can’t be charged more for their insurance, young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, contraceptive care and preventive care are now free. Paying more, or being denied insurance altogether due to a preexisting condition – we made that a thing of the past.

We did these things together. So many of you made that change possible.

At the same time, I was careful to say again and again that while the Affordable Care Act represented a significant step forward for America, it was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.

That remains true. So I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse.

But right now, after eight years, the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it. That’s not my opinion, but rather the conclusion of all objective analyses, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which found that 23 million Americans would lose insurance, to America’s doctors, nurses, and hospitals on the front lines of our health care system.

The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America. It hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else. Those with private insurance will experience higher premiums and higher deductibles, with lower tax credits to help working families cover the costs, even as their plans might no longer cover pregnancy, mental health care, or expensive prescriptions. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.

Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm. And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.

I hope our Senators ask themselves – what will happen to the Americans grappling with opioid addiction who suddenly lose their coverage? What will happen to pregnant mothers, children with disabilities, poor adults and seniors who need long-term care once they can no longer count on Medicaid? What will happen if you have a medical emergency when insurance companies are once again allowed to exclude the benefits you need, send you unlimited bills, or set unaffordable deductibles? What impossible choices will working parents be forced to make if their child’s cancer treatment costs them more than their life savings?

To put the American people through that pain – while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return – that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.

That might take some time and compromise between Democrats and Republicans. But I believe that’s what people want to see. I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again. If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family.

After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country – who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.


Also published on Medium.

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8 Comments

  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    SO why didn’t you fix it Mr. Obama? Why did you kick the can down the road? Just like the debt, the jobs (we did get a bunch of retail min wage jobs, you hoooo).
    Why didn’t you bring both sides of the isle together? Why did you tell Republicans to sit in the back of the bus? Why did you tell them”elections have consequences”.

    A big bunch of baloney. More do as I say, not as I did. Go home and have tea with Hillary. Then go have coffee with Bush, You had your chance and failed to change Washington. Its now more divided then ever. That’s your legacy.

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    You’re really starting to scare me, PSgt. I don’t ever recall Obama telling Republicans to “sit in the back of the bus”. In fact, the major complaint against Obama that was he kept trying too hard to make nice with the Republicans, and they kept screwing him. Shall we blame the victim here for all the racism that was thrown at him?

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=25HN1kZtRIw

    It’s cause you only listen to liberal media IK. There’s 2 sides, always.

    Just like the liberals now snarling at the Shakespeare Caesar play in NY, where they assasinate Trump every night. Or the Dem in Nebraska the other day getting taped saying he was glad the congressman was shot by the Bernie Bro but that he wished he was F***ing dead. Or Johnnie Depp saying maybe it’s time for another actor to assainate the president. Or Madonna at the women’s March or the countless others threatening violence against the party they oppose.

    When Scalia and the others were shot, I knew it was a progressive as soon as the news reported. How? If it was a conservative or independent they would have all been dead.

    The militant let and progressive elite are over the top. I hope they keep it up. I hope they keep Pelosi. Why? Then the Dems will become even less relevant when they loose another couple hundred seats in the next election. And they still won’t get it or be able to figure it out.
    They can halt free speech at colleges. They can harass conservatives and have their snarky “artsy” plays. They can set campuses on fire and throw rocks at store windows, but on Election Day, in the silence of the voting booth the Americans will speak.

    I get that people don’t agree with the conservative policies and I get they don’t like the lefts. But they are taking it to a dangerous new level. And the media is in on it, perhaps they are making it worse, or even worse, causing it.

    If you can’t see that, then your blinded by it. Oh yeah, racism is a left buzzword. And it’s the most overused word they have. It doesn’t mean anything. Most of those that use it just don’t have anything real to say. Sure there are a few real racists out there. But if you disagree with someone’s opinion or policy, it doesn’t make you a racist. Otherwise everyone on the left right now would be a racist.

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  4. MacWithHisBooks wrote:

    Thank you Mister Knee for sharing Obama’s words. I had missed it, even tho I have gotten into checking the bad news every few hours. It gives me hope that compassion still exists.

    Friday, June 23, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink
  5. Thatguy wrote:

    Someone shot Scalia? Hasn’t he been dead for a year? Who’s blinded by what, again?

    Care to make an argument on the merits of the House or Senate GOP health care bills? Is there a second side of this story that lends any sort of quality to their pieces of legislation?

    Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 1:32 am | Permalink
  6. ebdoug wrote:

    I had no idea Scalia was shot. How has that been kept under wraps from the media for over a year? Goodness. Or is this Breitbart at work?

    I suggest reading for you PATRIOTSGT.
    Politicalwire.com.

    Unless you pay to read it, you just get synopsis from WebSite.

    Yesterday was a long article on why Trump doesn’t want to be President. Well, he wants to be President, he just doesn’t want to have anything to do with governing other than sign what is put in front of him. So we have no fear of Trump. Only what he has abdicated to others. There are new posts all day. Many of which end up over here in altered. Or taken from Electoral vote.

    I’m an independent. I can always see the other side of something. (long time of magistrates and lawyers going back to the 1600s) but I’m not a lawyer.

    So many sites take the APrawnews and slant it . That is how hate evolves on both sides. I refuse to go to those sites.

    Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 4:01 am | Permalink
  7. William wrote:

    PSgt, autocorrect may have “helped” you out, that you meant House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, who was shot at the baseball practice:

    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/21/533795038/shooting-at-gop-baseball-practice-seems-to-have-been-spontaneous-fbi-says

    While I value many of your contributions, but I can’t say that I appreciate them all, I’m glad to have your contributions to our ongoing dialog. I certainly agree that the political space is much more divided now than, say, twenty years ago, but I don’t blame Obama for that. I suspect the change has multiple causes, including the Balkanization of discussion supported by the Internet. Long gone are the days where folks could watch one of (at most) three network news shows or read the only local paper. This blog provides on of the few bright spots of open discussion. I grant that it skewers republicans more often than democrats, but that seems to me in large part because they act in more ironic ways, saying or promising one thing, but doing another.

    Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 10:45 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Thanks for catching that William. Everybody know who I was referring to they just like to misdirect.
    I am not republican, nor any longer a democrat, I switched to independent. I think republicans are stupid, gutless losers. But democrats aren’t any better. If you like open borders, dependency on government, excessive regulation, hyper taxation and no real plan for the future or how to honestly fix real problems then you like the Democratic Party. If you like gutless reps who vote to repeal a law 38 times when they know it won’t work just to get reelected. Or pull out the only policy you have to cut taxes on the wealthy with a massive deficit then you like republicans.
    If you like free everything and no personal responsibility then vote progressive. If no federal government and religion in schools and government is your thin then vote tea party.

    This is my honest opinion as I see it

    Saturday, June 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink