Former US president Barack Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the success of the Affordable Care Act since its implementation in 2010.
The visit marks the first time the former president has been to the White House publicly since leaving office in 2016. Obama joined President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris in celebrating the Affordable Care Act and speaking about the Biden administration’s efforts to further make healthcare affordable and accessible to all Americans.
“The President will take additional action to further strengthen the ACA and save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care,” an official told CNN.
In his opening remarks, Obama gave thanks to “Vice President Biden,” adding “That was a joke. That was all set up.” He continued, “I confess, I heard some changes have been made by the current president since I was last here.”
“Apparently, Secret Service agents have to wear Aviator glasses now. The Navy mess has been replaced by a Baskin-Robbins. And there’s a cat running around, which I guarantee Beau and Sunny would have been very unhappy about,” he said to laughter, referring to the Obamas’ dogs.
The former president then turned to talk about the reason for his visit. “We’re not supposed to do this just to occupy a seat or to hang on to power. We’re supposed to do this because it’s making a difference in the lives of the people who sent us here,” Obama said, before introducing Biden.
“My name is Joe Biden, and I’m Barack Obama’s vice president,” Biden said, prompting more laughter in the room. “It feels like the good old days — being here with you brings back so many good memories.”
“Let’s be honest, the Affordable Care Act has been called a lot of things, but Obamacare is the most fitting,” Biden added with apparent pride, “Obamacare.”
He then announced several new steps that the Biden administration is taking to build on the Affordable Care Act, including a new executive order directing federal agencies “to do everything in their power” to expand coverage and make it easier to enroll, which he signed after his remarks, as well as a proposed rule from the Treasury Department to fix the ACA’s so-called “family glitch.”
“Once today’s proposed rule is finalized, starting next year, working families in America will get the help they need to afford full family coverage,” Biden said. “With this change, it’s estimated that 200,000 presently uninsured Americans are going to gain coverage. Nearly one million Americans will see their coverage become more affordable.”
Biden continued, “If Republicans have their way, it means 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can once again be denied health care coverage by their insurance companies. That’s what the law was before Obamacare. In addition, tens of millions of Americans could lose their coverage, including young people who will no longer be able to stay on their parent’s insurance policy until age 26.”
“We need to keep up the fight,” he added, calling out the GOP for its “unrelenting” campaign against the ACA.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NBC NEWS
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