Former president Barack Obama has vigorously defended Obamacare as he called on members of Congress to show courage in the debate over the future of health care in America.
Obama was careful not to mention Donald Trump by name in Boston on Sunday night as he referenced the current administration’s efforts to dismantle much of his signature health care law.
‘I hope that current members of Congress recognize it takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential – but it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm,’ Obama said as he accepted the JFK Profile in Courage Award. ‘I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what’s politically expedient, but doing what, deep in our hearts, we know is right.’
The former president applauded the members of Congress who did ‘the right thing’ in 2009 and 2010 when they took hard votes for the health reform law. He noted that many members of Congress risked and ultimately lost their seats when they voted for Obamacare.
‘There was a reason why health care reform had not been accomplished before. It was hard…,’ Obama said.
‘These 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.’
The annual JFK Profile in Courage Award is named for JFK’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book Profiles in Courage and is presented to political figures who have taken courageous stances in public life.
Previous award recipients include Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush, former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt, U.S. Senator and former prisoner of war John McCain and U.S. Representative and civil rights leader John Lewis.