“America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act,” Obama said in a statement marking the seventh anniversary of its passage.
Donald Trump makes last-ditch pitch to Republicans to back healthcare bill
The future of the Affordable Care Act – and indeed the American healthcare system – teetered in the balance on Thursday ahead of a planned vote in the House of Representatives, a major step toward fulfilling their longstanding promise to repeal the law.
Obama did not mention the Republican plan to undo the law, which introduced the greatest expansion of healthcare coverage in more than a generation, but urged lawmakers to work together to “make our healthcare system better, not worse for hardworking Americans”. It was one of his most significant interventions in US politics since he left office.
A day before, former vice-president Joe Biden appeared at a rally on Capitol Hill to defend the law. “It’s not going anywhere,” Biden said. “This bill isn’t going to pass.”
The House is poised on Thursday to vote on the Republican healthcare proposal despite widespread criticism and opposition from a coalition of hard-right conservatives who say that they have the votes to block its passage.
The stakes for Trump and the House speaker, Paul Ryan, who is spearheading the bill, are high. For seven years – and over the course of three election cycles – Republicans have run in and won elections on the promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
It’s passage is also the first major legislative test for Trump, who campaigned as a the brilliant negotiator behind the Art of the Deal. On the campaign trail, crowds thrilled to Trump’s promise to repeal Obamacare “on day one” and replace it with “something terrific”. Failure to pass this law could jeopardize Trump’s broader legislative agenda, which includes tax reform and border security.
In a private meeting on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, the US president reportedly warned Republicans that there could be political backlash if they fail to uphold their promises to repeal the ACA, popularly called Obamacare, and his press secretary Sean Spicer said: “I think there’s going to be a price to be paid but it’s going to be with their own voters.”
Obama defends Affordable Care Act as Republicans push to repeal it | US news | The Guardian