US President Barack Obama called for efforts from supporters to protect the Affordable Care Act just weeks before the law could face its biggest legal challenge to date.
During a half-hour speech to the Catholic Health Association, Obama expressed deep disappointment in the political attacks against the law, which he described as “ceaseless, endless partisan attempts to roll back progress”.
“It seems so cynical to want to take coverage away from millions of people, to punish millions with higher costs of care and unravel what’s now become part of the fabric of America,” he told the crowd of ObamaCare supporters.
“It isn’t just a theory. It isn’t even just about the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. “There’s a reality that people on the ground, day to day, are experiencing. Their lives are better,” Obama said.
In his longest speech devoted to healthcare in more than a year, Obama rattled off figures about the number of people who gained insurance, the decline in overall medical spending and the years-long streak of job growth under the law.
Obama also recounted his administration’s bitter fight for the Affordable Care Act starting in 2009. He said he ignored warnings about the political perils of pursuing reform because of what he saw as a mounting healthcare crisis.
“By the time I took office, thousands of Americans were losing their healthcare insurance every day,” Obama said. “Tens of millions had no coverage at all.”
“After a century of talk, after decades of trying, after a year of sustained debate, we finally made healthcare reform a reality here in America,” he said.
Aligning with Obama’s speech, the White House rolled out a new website dedicated to healthcare reform that features more than 30 testimonials from people who benefited from the law.
It includes a timeline of healthcare reform starting from 1912, when then-president Theodore Roosevelt first campaigned on ” national insurance”. It also includes 18 events from Obama’s tenure, from his joint speech to Congress announcing his reform plans in 2009 to this year’s signup period, during which about 10 million people were enrolled in the reform.