Former President Barack Obama appealed to members of Congress to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) his signature health care law, Sunday night at the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation in Boston.
Obama’s speech, which he gave upon receiving the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, are his first since the House voted to repeal and replace Obamacare on Thursday.
Obama called on lawmakers to have the courage to “champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.” He said he hopes they understand that “courage does not always mean doing what is politically expedient, but what they believe deep in their hearts is right.”
The former President who has avoided discussing anything surrounding the healthcare bill repeal, also said there was a reason why health care reform had not been accomplished earlier: “It was hard.”
In his acceptance speech, Obama talked about the need for courage in times when politics “remains filled with division and discord, and everywhere we see the risk of falling into the refuge of tribe and clan.”
He also spoke about challenging the status quo and “fighting the good fight.” He went on to praise the courage of the men and women who were in Congress when he was President, who risked their political futures to pass the Affordable Care Act. “They had a chance to insure millions,” Obama recalled. “This same vote would likely cost them their new seats and perhaps end their political careers. And these men and women did the right thing, the hard thing, and theirs was a profile in courage.”
“This great debate is not settled, but continues, and it is my fervent hope and hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible.” According to the John F. Kennedy library’s website, Obama received the award given to a public official or group of public servants “whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership.”
The annual Profile in Courage Award is named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kennedy that profiled eight U.S. senators who risked their careers by taking principled though unpopular positions.
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