President Obama came out Wednesday against the latest Republican effort to scrap the Affordable Care Act, saying there is no “demonstrable economic, actuarial, or even human rationale for pushing” the Graham-Cassidy bill.
“When I see people trying to undo that hard-won progress, for the 50th or 60th time, with bills that will raise costs, reduce coverage, and roll back protections for older Americans and people with preexisting conditions … it is aggravating,” Obama said during a speech at Lincoln Center.
He also emphasized the importance of citizens pressuring elected officials. “It may be frustrating that we have to mobilize every couple months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on their constituents,” he said. “But typically, that’s how progress is won.”
Just days before leaving office in January, Obama said he would stay out of day-to-day political debates unless it was clear “our core values” were at stake. He has broken that self-imposed silence several times to defend the legislation that has come to bear his name. In March, when the House’s American Health Care Act was the leading contender to replace Obamacare, the former president put out a statement emphasizing the success of the seven-year-old legislation.
“Thanks 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,” he wrote. “So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act.”
In June, he weighed in again after the Senate passed its Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Obama said 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.”
Now, in what is becoming a once-every-three-month tradition, Obama is back criticizing another Republican attempt to scrap the ACA, and this time he sounds more annoyed than ever. Senator Lindsey Graham does too. One of the primary sponsors of the GOP’s current bill, Graham put out a statement responding to Obama’s speech Wednesday saying it’s “unrealistic to expect that President Obama would acknowledge his signature issue is failing.” Graham did not, however, mention that there’s a very good reason for this: Obama’s signature issue isn’t failing at all.