Obama returns to the White House to announce a new provision of the health law | International

Joe Biden shakes hands with Barack Obama under the gaze of Kamala Harris.LEAH MILLIS (REUTERS)

Barack Obama had not returned to the White House since he left it on January 20, 2017 to make way for the winner of the presidential election, Donald Trump. During the period in which the Republican exercised his mandate, the first black man to be president of the United States stayed as far away as he could from the always controversial New York tycoon. Trump discredited Obama as much as he could during his eight years in power, even accusing him of not having been born in the US and therefore not deserving of being president.

This Tuesday, an Obama with gray hair, aged but with the peace that comes from not being at the foot of the canyon every day, has visited the White House to remember the 12 years that have passed since the Health Assistance Law (ACA, in its acronym in English), much better known by the pejorative name that its detractors gave it and that in the end it has accepted as its own, Obamacare.

Under the applause of a room given to the former president, Obama joked before adopting a serious tone and recalling that when this country sets out to do something, when its citizens come together in a common effort, great goals are achieved.

“I like being back in the White House. That hasn’t happened for a long time,” the 60-year-old former president began. “I confess that I have heard that some changes have been made under the new president since I have been here,” the Democrat continued. “Apparently the secret service now has to wear aviator sunglasses,” Obama joked, referring to the glasses worn by his former vice president.

The staging, with the first female vice president and the weighty figure that is Obama, served for Joe Biden to sign a decree on Tuesday with which he hopes to expand health coverage and reduce health insurance costs under the ACA. The objective of the executive order is that 200,000 inhabitants of the country who previously could not benefit from Obamacare can access health coverage for the first time, and that another million people pay less in their monthly health insurance premiums. “ACA has not only survived, but is very popular,” Obama said of perhaps his greatest political legacy.

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The former black beast of President Trump has faced more than 70 votes in Congress to dismantle it, empty it of funds or modify it. Before the Supreme Court he has faced up to three challenges. And at least 14 States out of a total of 50 in the Union refuse to allow the law to form part of their health care systems for the most needy (Medicaid and Medicare). He turned 10 years old in the midst of a pandemic that brought the planet to its knees and has the support of more than 42% of the population.

Obama remains one of the most popular figures in the Democratic Party. His appearance at the White House comes as Biden continues to battle in the polls amid persistent inflation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine in the background, which has caused a domino effect around the world.

“Being back here, even when it means putting on a tie, which I rarely do these days, gives me the opportunity to visit with some of the amazing people who work in this White House and for this country every day,” Obama stressed. In the US there is no public health system and half of the population has access to private health insurance thanks to their jobs, while the rest either have no coverage or contract it through a low-cost insurance market. created under Obamacare. That law currently allows more than 31 million people to have access to lower-cost health coverage.

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