After accepting ‘courage’ award, Obama takes veiled shot at Republicans for Obamacare repeal

During a high-class event in Boston Sunday, former President Barack Obama accepted the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation’s Profile in Courage award, which is given annually to public officials whose “actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership.”




But during his acceptance speech, Obama took aim at congressional Republicans, who recently passed the first step in repealing Obama’s signature presidential achievement: the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.” The remarks were his first public comments since the House passed the American Health Care Act on Thursday.

Obama declared that he hopes political “courage” will save the ailing law.

“As everyone here now knows, this great debate is not settled, but continues,” Obama said during his speech at the JFK Library.

It is my fervent hope, and the hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible,” he explained, “that today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions.”

Obama then appealed to morality, arguing that politicians in Washington should do what “is right,” instead of simply doing what is “politically expedient.”

“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 — those who often have no access to the corridors of power,” Obama said.




Such courage and the values behind championing the weak and vulnerable are “fragile” and need “constant renewal,” Obama continued.

“I’ve said before that I believe what Dr. [Martin Luther] King said: that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice,” he said. “But I have also said that it does not bend on its own, it bends because we bend it, because we put our hand on the arc and we move it in the direction of justice and freedom and equality and kindness and generosity.”

“It doesn’t happen on its own,” the former president emphasized.


During his speech, Obama also lauded Democratic lawmakers who lost their seats in Congress for supporting Obamacare in 2010.

“These men and women did the right thing, the hard thing, and theirs was a profile in courage, and because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance that didn’t have it before,” Obama said.




Obama also took an indirect shot at President Donald Trump during his speech, referring to comments Trump made to a group of governors earlier this year when he said he didn’t know health care reform could be so “complicated.”

“There was a reason why health care reform had not been accomplished before: It was hard,” Obama said Sunday, receiving a laugh from the crowd.

His comments came just four days after Republicans in the House narrowly passed the AHCA, a bill they say is the first step to fulfilling their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with a market-based, consumer-centered solution. The bill will next go to the Senate, where Republican senators are likely to pass their own version of health care reform.

Obama received the annual courage award, in part, for his determined effort to pass health care reform during his years as president. Though the law is failing, and many argue it’s collapsing the health care marketplace, the law did enable millions of Americans who previously didn’t have health insurance to buy it.

Obama is the third president to receive the award. Former Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush have also received it.

h/t:source



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