Former President Barack Obama has been relatively silent in the political arena since Donald Trump took office. But on Thursday, he released a lengthy statement to weigh in on the current debate on health care.
He stopped short of bashing the GOP’s repeal efforts directly, but he did have some strong words about what the debate on upholding or replacing Obamacare is really all about:
“Thank 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. So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act.”
Obama publicly declared after leaving office that he would be taking some time off and staying out of the political arena. He wanted to give Trump “an opportunity to put forward his platform and his arguments without somebody popping off in every instance”.
His only exception to that rule was about ten days into the Trump presidency, when Obama made a comment about the wave of protests against Trump’s controversial first travel ban.
Now, however, he wants to make sure Republicans know they’re number one job is defending and supporting the American people:
“If Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals-that’s something we all should welcome. But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our healthcare system better, not worse for hardworking Americans.”
Obama’s comments came ahead of an expected House vote on the GOP’s American Healthcare Act by the end of the day on Thursday. The bill is facing considerable criticism from both sides, with more than 25 Republicans who are at least leaning against, if not strongly opposing, the bill.