Speaking out against the concerted effort to repeal his healthcare plan for the first time since becoming a private citizen, President Barack Obama urged members of Congress to have courage and look at facts, not partisanship, when making such a vital decision about the healthcare of millions.
The former president broke his silence while accepting a Profile in Courage award at the John f. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston on Sunday night.
President Obama used his award which highlights courage to focus on many in Congress who took office the same year he did in 2009, when so much work was needed to be done and hard decisions needed to be made.
“[T]hese men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn’t have it before.”
Obama then pivoted, looking at the current healthcare debate ongoing in the House, Senate, and White House each day. As Congress seeks to dismantle that healthcare reform which he argued took so much courage to enact, Obama urged more of the same courage going forward.
“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.”
Obama urged members of Congress to view the healthcare bill they are attempting to pass with clear eyes, setting aside partisanship to do what’s right.
“I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right.”
Since President Obama became a private citizen earlier this year, he has mostly stayed out of the spotlight, instead being spotted by media at exotic locales surrounded by his family. But in recent weeks, Obama has made his return, focusing most of his energy on his adopted hometown of Chicago.
As the Democratic party continues to struggle to find unity post-election, Obama’s reappearance in the public eye must be calculated to help unite, rather than divide, the growing anti-Trump movement.