Former president Barack Obama did not disappoint anyone who hoped he’d respond to today’s introduction of the Better Care Reconciliation Act in a lengthy Facebook post in which he urges those Republicans who don’t already oppose the bill in the Senate to step back and actually consider what it is this bill would do, rather than look at it as an opportunity to stick it to the Democrats.
“We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain — we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course,” Obama writes.
Obama then goes on to cite all the good things that the ACA did, such as not charge women more for coverage and protecting those with pre-existing conditions, while at the same time accepting its flaws. Obama says that he would gladly support “a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost,” no matter what party does it, which he notes the new Senate bill does not do.
“The Senate bill, unveiled today, 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. Discrimination based on pre-existing conditions could become the norm again. Millions of families will lose coverage entirely.”
Obama concludes by saying that even minor tweaks over the coming weeks won’t be able to change the “fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation” and that he hopes Democrats and Republicans will work together to give the American people an actually useful healthcare bill. He ends his message while urging people to let their representatives know what they think of the bill.
As he wrote, “After all, this debate has always been about something bigger than politics. It’s about the character of our country — who we are, and who we aspire to be. And that’s always worth fighting for.”
(via Barack Obama on Facebook)