President Barack Obama defended the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, one more time before the U.S. Supreme Court considers overturning the healthcare law. He was speaking at the Catholic Hospital Association’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., as he emphasized that Obamacare was helping many Americans get desperately needed health insurance.
The nation's highest court will decide if people with no statewide exchange program should continue to get federal subsidies. Obama, however, insisted that America should continue to take advantage of his healthcare program, which he signed into law March 23, 2010, after it was approved by both houses of Congress. It is still regarded by many as the signature accomplishment of Obama's tenure in the White House.
But if the court rules against the subsidies, millions of Americans are likely to lose their health insurance -- a daunting prospect in a nation where paying for medical care for some conditions can be expensive, driving families into debt, bankruptcy or even poverty.
Obama claimed that “people on the ground” were living a better life because of Obamacare. “This is now part of the fabric of how we care for one another,” ABC News quoted Obama as saying. “This is healthcare in America.”
Obama said it had taken 100 years to reform healthcare in the country. He added that it took only five years to help millions of people through the program.
According to the White House, Obama’s speech was not connected to the Supreme Court ruling. Officials said that he was not trying to influence anyone related to the case.
Politico reported that Obama’s speech was “part victory lap and part plea.” The U.S. president said that healthcare was not a privilege but a right for the people of America. While the Obama administration has maintained its belief that the court will keep the law intact, it also acknowledged that there was no clear alternative for solving the problem if the court rules against the law.
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Obamacare may influence the 2016 presidential campaign as well. While presidential candidates are divided on the issue, Democrat Hillary Clinton has expressed strong support for Obamacare through various Twitter posts. If the Supreme Court decides against overturning the subsidies, healthcare is sure to be a major issue during the 2016 presidential campaign.