The Supreme Court is expected to hand down an Affordable Care Act decision this month that could cut the federal insurance subsidies of some 8 million Americans. Those that would be affected are in largely Republican states that did not expand Medicaid and created their own health-care exchanges. Ahead of the court’s decision, President Barack Obama today delivered a speech to the Catholic Health Association conference lauding what he sees as the historic successes of the ACA.
Despite persistent critique of his reforms, Obama said, “The Affordable Care Act worked out better than many of us hoped.”
Because of it, a third of uninsured Americans have health coverage, 16.4 million additional people, he said.
“Like any serious attempt at change, there were problems with the roll-out,” Obama said, but even so, America cannot afford to “go backwards” by unraveling the successes of the ACA.
Among those successes, Obama cited:
•The abolition of pre-existing conditions
• Free wellness care such as mammograms for women (“A woman can’t be charged more just for being a woman,” he said)
•No more annual caps for coverage
Healthcare prices are at the lowest rate in 15 years and the average family’s premiums are $1,800 lower than they would be before the ACA.
•Medicare has been strengthened and protected with 13 years added to the life of the program.
•Despite concerns that the ACA would be a “job killer,” America has seen 63 straight months of private-sector job growth which started when the ACA was passed and now constitutes the longest private growth streak in US history.
“When tens of millions of people couldn’t afford decent care, that wasn’t a better America,” he concluded. “That’s not freedom. The freedom to languish in illness or go bankrupt because somebody in your family gets sick — that’s not who we are. That’s not what we’re about.”
Photo: Still from Obama’s health care speech.