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Obama Just Broke His Silence To Defend The Affordable Care Act

He means business

Former President Barack Obama has kept a pretty low profile since exiting the White House in January. He’s played some golf in Palm Springs, California, has been kite surfing with Richard Branson, and even had dinner with Bono in New York City. Now, it’s time for him to get back to work.

On Thursday, Obama made a rare public statement to defend the Affordable Care Act and all it has done for the American health care system.

"So the reality is clear: America is stronger because of the Affordable Care Act," Obama said in his statement, given on the seventh anniversary of the passage of the ACA. The statement also coincides with the Republican’s plan to vote on legislation, known as the American Health Care Act, that would repeal and replace the ACA.

While Obama did not make specific mention of the Republican legislation, he did hint at shortcomings in the potential replacement act. “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," Obama added. "But we should start from the baseline that any changes will make our health care system better—not worse—for hardworking Americans. That should always be our priority. "

If the Republican legislation passes, the “10 essential benefits” of the Affordable Care Act may come to an end. As GOOD reported, those 10 essentials include:

  • Ambulatory patient services (outpatient care you get without being admitted to a hospital)
  • Emergency services hospitalization (like surgery and overnight stays)
  • Pregnancy, maternity, and newborn care (both before and after birth) Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment (this includes counseling and psychotherapy)
  • Prescription drugs
  • Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices (services and devices to help people with injuries, disabilities, or chronic conditions gain or recover mental and physical skills)
  • Laboratory services
  • Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management
  • Pediatric services, including oral and vision care (but adult dental and vision coverage aren’t essential health benefits)

In his lengthly statement, Obama hinted that these essential benefits and others have lead to more than “20 million Americans (gaining) the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than 90 percent of Americans are insured—the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past. Seniors have bigger discounts on prescription drugs. Young people can stay on their parents' plans until they turn 26 years old. And Americans who already had insurance received an upgrade as well—from free preventative care, such as mammograms and vaccines, to improvements in the quality of care in hospitals that has averted nearly 100,000 deaths so far."

Read the full statement below:

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