Former US President Barack Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday to celebrate the 12th anniversary of the health care bill, known as “Obamacare,” and to bolster current President Joe Biden’s efforts to expand it there.
Biden, who was former US President Barack Obama’s “No. 2” when the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or “Obamacare,” became law in March 2010, wants to expand the law to cover more citizens.
Biden gave the former president full credit for the original law, which has weathered repeated attempts by Republicans to repeal it.
“It’s because of you,” Biden said after gently introducing himself as Vice President to Obama, who returns to the White House today after more than five years.
The US president said the law “shows that hope leads to change,” a play on Obama’s campaign slogan, “Hope and Change.”
The former head of state was last in the White House on January 20, 2017, when he left to accompany Donald Trump, his successor who has committed to reviewing the law.
“It is good to be back in the White House,” Obama said after being introduced by the current Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, in the East Room, in a meeting with hugs, laughter, and many pleasant provocations.
Obama opened the speeches by referring to Biden as “Vice President” before admitting it was a “planned” joke and embracing the number two in office.
Obama said he and Biden accomplished “a lot” during his eight years in office, but “nothing makes him prouder than providing better health care and greater protection to millions of people across the country.”
“The ACA was an example of why you would run for office in the first place,” Obama said, calling it his CEO’s “highlight.”
Biden called the Affordable Care Act the most important legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, and insisted it should be expanded to include more people.
We can do it. We should do this. Biden implored us to do it, saying the term “Obamacare” is “the most appropriate.”
At today’s event, Biden signed an executive order to close the “family gap” in implementing the 2010 law, which his government believes will help expand affordable health care coverage to 200,000 people.
Obama entertained the audience with some teasers about how things had changed in the Biden White House, with the incumbent’s penchant for sunglasses and ice cream and his fondness for pets.
As for Obamacare, the law’s survival was bolstered by three Supreme Court victories and a confirmed negative vote for the late Republican Senator John McCain, who frustrated President Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace it.
Kamala Harris, in her letter, asked Congress to allow Medicare to provide permanent subsidies to the Affordable Care Act, which was included in the Biden administration’s pandemic relief bill.
Biden has opened up health insurance markets to anyone looking for coverage during the Covid-19 pandemic, albeit temporarily.
The result was a record 14.5 million people enrolled in subsidized private coverage.
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