Remarks by President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Former President Obama on the Affordable Care Act

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East Room

1:44 P.M. EDT

VICE PRESIDENT HARRIS:  Good afternoon.  Indeed, it’s a good afternoon.  Good afternoon.  Please have a seat, everyone.  Please have a seat.  Thank you.  It feels good, doesn’t it?  (Laughs.)  (Applause.) 

President Biden, President Obama, members of Congress, and my fellow Americans: On March twenty third, 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into legislation.  (Applause.)

In the 12 years since, the ACA has delivered high-quality,
reasonably priced healthcare to greater than 30 million Americans –(applause) — sure.  And these Americans are working dad and mom and younger kids, school college students and older Americans — hundreds of thousands of people that had by no means been capable of afford protection earlier than or who had been denied protection altogether, usually due to a class of denial referred to as “pre-existing conditions” — situations resembling most cancers, diabetes, hypertension, and even bronchial asthma. 

The ACA is probably the most consequential healthcare laws handed in generations in our nation.  (Applause.) 

And it’s one thing extra.  The ACA is a press release of objective; a press release concerning the nation we have to be, the place all individuals — regardless of who they’re, the place they reside, or how a lot they earn — can entry the healthcare they want, regardless of the associated fee. 

You know, once I served as Attorney General of California, it was that objective that led our workplace and 10 different state attorneys common to submit a short to the United States Supreme Court in protection of the ACA.  

And it’s that objective that brings us all collectively right now to proceed to broaden reasonably priced healthcare and its protection to households throughout our nation, and to name on Congress to take motion to cross laws that merely permits Medicare to immediately negotiate prescription drug costs with pharmaceutical firms.  (Applause.)

And if there’s any query why, I’ll clarify.  More than 60 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare.  That would give Medicare important bargaining energy to barter costs for all these Americans.  So as an alternative of forcing particular person sufferers to barter by themselves, to require them to pay no matter value the drug firms set, they’d have that sort of illustration to face there with their fellow Americans and negotiate these costs in order that they’d simply merely be truthful.

So, right now, we additionally name on Congress to make everlasting the ACA subsidies which are included within the American Rescue Plan — (applause) — subsidies which are presently reducing insurance coverage premiums for hundreds of thousands of Americans and that are set to run out in December.  And extra have to be completed. 

Currently, there are 12 states in our nation that refuse to broaden Medicaid for no cause apart from petty partisan obstruction.  As a consequence, 4 million individuals in our nation are locked out of protection, and that comes at a price. 

For instance, girls who do not need healthcare protection and are, due to this fact, much less more likely to have entry throughout being pregnant, or earlier than or after, to pelvic exams or vaccinations, prenatal check-ups, postpartum despair screenings, and all the opposite important care they have to be secure and wholesome earlier than, throughout, and after beginning. 

We know that increasing Medicaid protection considerably reduces the variety of moms who die because of being pregnant.  (Applause.)  So the earlier protection is expanded in these 12 states, the extra lives we’ll save. 

Protecting the well being and wellbeing of the individuals of our nation shouldn’t be a partisan problem.  Every particular person in our nation ought to have the ability to entry and afford the healthcare they should thrive — not as a privilege, however without any consideration. 

And that’s the reason our administration will proceed to make use of each device at our disposal to strengthen the ACA.

And with that — (applause) — it’s now my nice pleasure to introduce the person whose imaginative and prescient and management led us to today, whose unwavering dedication to the individuals of our nation laid the muse for this groundbreaking laws; a frontrunner who confirmed us the best way ahead on this vital problem.

Please welcome President Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everyone.  Thank you.  Thank you very a lot.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everyone.  Have a seat.  Have a seat.  Thank you.

Vice President Biden, Vice President — (laughter) — that was a joke.  (Applause.)  (President Obama hugs President Biden.)  That was all arrange.  (Laughter.) 

My President, Joe Biden; Vice President Harris — (applause) — our pricey buddy, Madam Speaker, Nancy Pelosi — (applause) — all of the members of Congress who’re in attendance right now, the members of the Cabinet: It is nice to be again within the White House.  (Applause.)  It’s been some time. 

I confess I heard some adjustments have been made — (laughter) — by the present President, since I used to be final right here.  Apparently, Secret Service brokers should put on aviator glasses now.  (Laughter.)  The Navy Mess has been changed by a Baskin Robbins.  (Laughter.)  And there’s — there’s a cat working round — (laughter) — which I assure you Bo and Sunny would have been very sad about.  (Laughter.) 

But coming again — even when I’ve to put on a tie, which I very hardly ever do nowadays — (laughter) — offers me an opportunity to go to with a few of the unimaginable individuals who serve this White House and who serve this nation each single day, numerous occasions out of the limelight.  They make this authorities operate, and so they assist individuals in methods large and small. 

And — and from the skin, generally individuals don’t perceive simply how grueling that is and what number of sacrifices individuals make, as a result of these of us who’re in entrance of the cameras oftentimes get the credit score.  But it’s lots of people who’re devoted day in, day trip to creating this nation higher that matter, and numerous them are represented right here.  And that’s not simply within the West Wing, by the best way.  It’s additionally within the Residence.  There had been lots of people who sorted our households that I’ll at all times be grateful to. 

So, it’s great to be again to say thanks to all of you.  But most of all, coming again right here offers me an opportunity to say thanks and spend a while with a unprecedented buddy and associate who was by my facet for eight years.

Joe Biden and I did rather a lot collectively.  (Applause.)  We helped save the worldwide financial system, made document investments in clear vitality.  We put guardrails on our monetary system.  We helped flip the auto business round.  Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  But nothing made me prouder than offering higher healthcare and extra protections to hundreds of thousands of individuals throughout this nation.  (Applause.) 

So — so when President Biden stated he was not going to only rejoice the ACA, but in addition announce actions that may make it even higher, I needed to present up.  (Laughter.)

I feel it’s been properly documented simply how troublesome it was to cross the ACA.  (Laughter.)  There — there’s — you will get numerous testimony right here, in case of us haven’t heard.

As a rustic, we had been speaking about reforming healthcare for 100 years.  Unlike nearly each different superior financial system on Earth, we didn’t have a system that assured entry to healthcare for all of its residents.  Millions of individuals didn’t have medical health insurance, actually because their employers didn’t present it or as a result of it was too costly.

But even supposing our healthcare system didn’t work properly, it was exhausting to vary.  Healthcare represents about one-fifth of our financial system; that’s trillions of {dollars} which are concerned.  So there have been numerous completely different financial pursuits that had been vying to keep up the established order.

And as a result of nearly all of Americans did have healthcare, some individuals naturally fearful that they’d lose what that they had.  The media was skeptical of previous failures.  There was numerous misinformation, to say the least, flying round.  And it’s truthful to say that the majority Republicans confirmed little curiosity in working with us to get something completed.  (Laughter.)  That’s truthful to say.

But regardless of nice odds, Joe and I had been decided, as a result of we’d met too many individuals on the marketing campaign path who’d shared their tales, and our personal households had been touched by sickness.

And as I stated to our pricey buddy Harry Reid, who’s missed — want he was right here right now, as a result of he took nice delight in what we did — I supposed to get healthcare handed even when it price me reelection — which, for some time, it regarded prefer it would possibly.  (Laughter.)  

But for all of us — for Joe, for Harry, for Nancy Pelosi, for others — the ACA was an instance of why you run for workplace within the first place, why all of you join doing jobs that pay you lower than you can also make someplace else; why you’re away from dwelling generally and also you miss some soccer practices or some dance recitals.

Because we don’t — we’re not supposed to do that simply to occupy a seat or to hold on to energy.  We’re supposed to do that as a result of it’s making a distinction within the lives of the individuals who despatched us right here. 

And due to so many individuals, together with lots of people who’re right here right now, made monumental sacrifices; as a result of members of Congress took brave votes, together with some who knew that their vote would doubtless price them their seat; due to the unimaginable management of Nancy and Harry, we received the ACA throughout the end line collectively.  (Applause.) 

And the evening we handed the ACA — I’ve stated it earlier than — it was a excessive level of my time right here, as a result of it jogged my memory and it reminded us of what’s attainable.

But, after all, our work was not completed.  Republicans tried to repeal what we had completed — once more, and once more, and once more.  (Laughter.)  And they filed lawsuits that went all the best way to the Supreme Court thrice.  I see Don Verrilli right here who needed to defend a few them.  (Applause.) 

They tried explicitly to make it tougher for individuals to enroll in protection. 

And let’s face it: It didn’t assist that once we first rolled out the ACA, the web site didn’t work.  (Laughter.)  That was not one in every of my happiest moments.  (Laughter.)

So, given all of the noise and the controversy and the skepticism, it took some time for the American individuals to grasp what we had completed.  But lo and behold, slightly later than I’d anticipated, numerous of us, together with many who had initially opposed healthcare reform, got here round.  

And right now, the ACA hasn’t simply survived; it’s fairly darn common.  And the reason being as a result of it’s completed what it was speculated to do.  It’s made a distinction.

First, 20 million and now 30 million individuals have gotten coated because of the ACA.  (Applause.) 

It’s — it’s prevented insurance coverage firms from denying individuals protection primarily based on a pre-existing situation.  It’s lowered prescription drug prices for 12 million seniors.  It’s allowed younger individuals to remain on their dad and mom’ plan till they’re 26.  It’s eradicated lifetime limits on advantages that usually put individuals in a jam.

So, we’re extremely pleased with that work. 

But the explanation we’re right here right now is as a result of President Biden, Vice President Harris, everyone who has labored on this factor understood from the beginning that the ACA wasn’t good.  To get the invoice handed, we needed to make compromises.  We didn’t get every thing we wished.  That wasn’t a cause to not do it.  If you will get hundreds of thousands of individuals well being protection and higher safety, it’s — to cite a well-known American — a reasonably “big deal.”  (Laughter and applause.)  That’s what it’s.  (Applause.)  A giant deal.

But there have been gaps to be stuffed.  Even right now, some sufferers nonetheless pay an excessive amount of for his or her prescriptions.  Some poor Americans are nonetheless falling via the cracks.  In some circumstances, healthcare subsidies aren’t the place we wish them to be, which implies that some working households are nonetheless having bother paying for his or her protection.

Here’s the factor: That’s commonplace once we make main progress on this nation.  The unique Social Security Act neglected total classes of individuals, like home employees and farm employees.  That needed to be modified.  In the start, Medicare didn’t present all the advantages that it does right now.  That needed to be modified.

Throughout historical past, what you see is that it’s vital to get one thing began, to plant a flag, to put a basis for additional progress.

The analogy I’ve used concerning the ACA earlier than is that: In the identical means that was true for early types of Social Security and Medicare, it was a starter dwelling.  (Laughter.)  It secured the precept of common healthcare, supplied assist instantly to households.  But it required us to repeatedly construct on it and make it higher.

And President Biden understands that.  And that’s what he’s completed because the day he took workplace.  As a part of the American Rescue Plan, he lowered the price of healthcare even additional for hundreds of thousands of individuals.  He made signing up simpler.  He made outreach to those that didn’t know they might get coated — make it possible for they knew; made {that a} precedence. 

And because of these actions, he helped a document 14.5 million Americans get coated throughout the latest enrollment interval.  (Applause.) 

That, girls and gents, is what occurs when you’ve an administration that’s dedicated to creating a program work.  (Applause.)

And right now — right now, the Biden-Harris administration goes even additional by shifting to repair a glitch within the laws that can decrease premiums for practically 1 million individuals who want it and permit 200,000 extra uninsured Americans get entry to protection. 

I’m a personal citizen now, however I nonetheless take greater than a passing curiosity in the middle of our democracy.  (Laughter.)  But I’m exterior the sector, and I understand how discouraged individuals can get with Washington — Democrats, Republicans, independents.  Everybody feels annoyed generally about what takes place on this city.  Progress feels means too sluggish generally.  Victories are sometimes incomplete.  And in a rustic as large and as numerous as ours, consensus by no means comes simply. 

But what the Affordable Care Act exhibits is that in case you are pushed by the core concept that, collectively, we will enhance the lives of this technology and the subsequent, and for those who’re persistent — for those who stick with it and are keen to work via the obstacles and the criticism and frequently enhance the place you fall quick, you can also make America higher — you possibly can have an effect on hundreds of thousands of lives.  You may help make sure that of us don’t should lose their properties after they get sick, that they don’t have to fret whether or not a liked one goes to get the therapy they want.

President Joe Biden understands that.  He has devoted his life to the proposition that there’s one thing worthy about public service and that the explanation to run for workplace is for days like right now.

So, I couldn’t be extra honored to be right here with him as he writes the subsequent chapter in our story of progress.  I’m grateful for all of the individuals who have been concerned in persevering with to make the ACA every thing it may be.  

And it’s now my nice privilege to introduce the forty sixth President of the United States, Joe Biden.  (Applause.) 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, thanks, thanks.  Please.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, thanks, thanks.  Please.  Tha- — (applause.)  Please.  Thank you.  Thank you very a lot.  Please.

My title is Joe Biden, and I’m Barack Obama’s Vice President.  (Laughter and applause.)  And I’m Jill Biden’s husband.  (Laughter.)  By the best way, the one cause Jill will not be right here right now: She’s working.  (Laughter.)  She’s instructing. 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I hear you. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  And so I simply need you to know that’s why she’s not right here.

Good afternoon, everybody.  Mr. President, welcome again to the White House, man.  It looks like the great outdated days.  (Applause.)  Being right here with you brings again so many good recollections.  We simply had lunch collectively, and we weren’t positive who was supposed to sit down the place.  (Laughter.) 

Look, it’s becoming that the primary time you come back to the White House is to rejoice a legislation — a legislation that’s remodeling hundreds of thousands of lives due to you.  And I say “because of you.”  We had numerous assist — the workers and I helped slightly bit — however it was due to you.  A legislation that exhibits hope results in change.  And you probably did that.  You did it.

Let’s be trustworthy: The Affordable Care Act has been referred to as numerous issues, however “Obamacare” is probably the most becoming.  (Laughter and applause.) “Obamacare.”  It’s true. 

I can inform you all how a lot Barack Obama cared about getting this completed.  Throughout the numerous hours of negotiations and the relentless political assaults, he by no means, ever, ever gave up.  And I assure you that.  

If I had time, I might inform you all of the occasions when he’d say, “Should we compromise, should we do…”  And I’d say, “Well, we ought to think about that.”  “No, if I do that, then so and so won’t get covered.  This group of people won’t get covered.”  

And whether or not it was after assembly or — or throughout our weekly lunch — and we met each single day — he’d remind me why we had been doing this within the first place.

We had been doing this, within the first place, for individuals who wanted it and deserved to be handled with dignity.  Dignity.  The concept that when you possibly can’t afford medical health insurance on your kids, on your partner, male or feminine — it doesn’t matter: Not solely are they in bother, however you’re disadvantaged of your dignity.  

Barack, you talked about the concept it was vital that we just remember to couldn’t outrun your insurance coverage.  I can keep in mind there with — with Beau, considering to myself, “What would I do if they walked in and said ‘You’ve outrun your time here,’ and there was still 35 days to live?”  The issues that change individuals’s lives. 

We each understood the Affordable Care Act wasn’t a few single president or the presidency.  It was concerning the numerous — numerous Americans mendacity in mattress at evening, staring on the ceiling, questioning, “My God — my God, what if I get really sick?  What am I going to do?  What is my family going to do?  Will I lose the house?”  Discussions we had in my home with my dad when he misplaced his medical health insurance — “Who’s going to pay for it?  Who’s going to take care of my family?”  

You know, in America, healthcare — as all of us three stated, may have now stated — healthcare needs to be a proper, not a privilege.

And — (applause) — with — with the assistance of members of Congress, particularly Nancy, and the advocates for households who’re right here right now, 12 years in the past final month — 12 years in the past, we made a superb effort towards that proposition — that it needs to be a proper.  

When — and, Barack, while you signed the Affordable Care Act into legislation, it turned probably the most consequential piece of medical health insurance — most consequential piece of laws, for my part — because the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.  It made a distinction in individuals’s lives daily. 

You simply talked about the place we had been earlier than the Affordable Care Act and what occurred prior to now 12 years to make life rather a lot higher for individuals.

Well, I’d like to speak about the place we go from right here, as a result of — as a result of we knew again then, as Barack — because the President stated, we knew that we needed to hold strengthening this laws.

Look, that’s why I ran for President and I promised to guard and construct upon the Affordable Care Act.

As quickly as I entered workplace, that’s precisely what Kamala and I did and what our administration and the Democrats in Congress right here right now did.  We handed the landmark American Rescue Plan, which not solely helped us on the COVID-19 — get it beneath management and our financial system again on observe, it received hundreds of thousands extra individuals insured beneath the Affordable Care Act.

It made it simpler for individuals to enroll in protection in the midst of a pandemic.  It opened a particular enrollment individuals [period] and gave hundreds of thousands and hundreds of thousands of Americans extra time to enroll.  It quadrupled the variety of navigators on the market within the communities serving to individuals to enroll in protection as a result of it was complicated to individuals.  It’s complicated. 

The President has heard me say once we labored collectively — you know the way they’d say, “Well, Biden and Obama are doing great on foreign policy.”  I stated, “You want to do something difficult?  Try healthcare.”  (Laughter.)  Not a joke.  Not a joke.

So we proceed to broaden Medicaid.  Missouri and Oklahoma turned the thirty seventh and thirty eighth states to broaden Medicaid beneath the Affordable Care Act.  (Applause.)  

And as has been talked about, over 31 million individuals now have medical health insurance via the Affordable Care Act.  Four out of 5 Americans can discover high quality protection for beneath $10 a month.

The common household — (applause) — the typical household is saving $2,400 a yr on their premiums.  That’s $200 each single month out there for different wants of their lives — from gasoline to groceries, to different primary requirements.

The backside line is that this: The Affordable Care Act is stronger now than it has ever been.   

And right now — (applause) — and I’m not even speaking about what your former Chief of Staff is doing to ensure healthcare is out there to all our veterans in the best way he did.  (Applause.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Yeah. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  And right now, we’re strengthening it even additional.  In a second, I’m going to signal an govt order constructing on a type of that I signed final yr.

It directs federal companies to proceed doing every thing of their energy — every thing of their energy to broaden high quality and reasonably priced healthcare protection: making it simpler for individuals to enroll in and hold their protection; serving to individuals higher perceive their protection choices and to choose — to have the ability to choose the most suitable choice for that household; taking steps to strengthen advantages, decrease prices, and broaden eligibility; defending Americans from low-quality protection that may result in a mountain of medical debt.

And, of us — and, individually, it’s time to repair what we check with because the “family glitch.”  Now, the household glitch, to all — everyone on this room in all probability is aware of what it’s.  (Laughter.)  But it’s a standard problem dealing with 5 million Americans who can’t get monetary assist to get protection beneath the Affordable Care Act.

And right here’s the issue: Under the present guidelines, a working mother is instructed: As lengthy as she will afford employer-based protection for herself, she will’t qualify for premium subsidies to afford protection for her household.  It’ll cowl her, however not her household.  

But we’re going to vary that.  Once right now’s proposed rule is finalized, beginning subsequent yr, working households in America will get the assistance they should afford full household protection — everybody within the household.  (Applause.) 

As — as a redult [sic] — in consequence, households will likely be saving tons of of {dollars} a month.  With this modification, it’s estimated that 200,000 presently uninsured Americans are going to realize protection.

Nearly 1 million Americans will see their protection turn out to be extra reasonably priced.  This is taken into account one of many largest issues my administration can do: decrease prices and broaden protection.  And we’re taking steps right now to get that completed. 

So, look, of us — however we want — we have to sustain the combat.  Our Republican colleagues, as they are saying in southern Delaware, “They haven’t changed a whole hell of a lot.”  (Laughter.)  Good of us, however they haven’t modified rather a lot.  They proceed to assault the Affordable Care Act.  They’re unrelenting.  Unrelenting.  They haven’t stopped.

Mr. President, because you signed the legislation, they haven’t stopped for one second.  Multiple courtroom challenges, you talked about.  Sabotage from the earlier administration.  Over 70 makes an attempt to repeal the legislation by Republicans in Congress. 

In reality, simply final month, the distinguished senator from Wisconsin stated: If Republicans get again in energy, they need to attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act once more — once more strive.

Today, 12 years later, Republicans haven’t stopped their assaults on this lifesaving legislation.

So, pay very shut consideration, of us: If Republicans have their means, it means 100 million Americans with pre-existing situations can as soon as once more be denied healthcare protection by their insurance coverage firms.  That’s what the legislation was earlier than Obamacare. 

In addition, tens of hundreds of thousands of Americans might lose their protection, together with younger individuals who will not have the ability to keep on their dad and mom’ insurance coverage coverage to age 26.  Premiums are going to undergo the roof. 

Well, I received a greater thought: Instead of destroying the Affordable Care Act, let’s hold constructing on it.  (Applause.)  Let’s lengthen it.  Extend.  (Applause.) 

And due to all of the — all the parents on this room, the members of Congress, the American Rescue Plan subsidies — subsidizes which are reducing premiums — subsidies are reducing premiums and lengthening protection. 

And I received slightly follow while you gave me that different act, , once we had been President — while you had been President and I used to be with you.  (Laughter.)

Look, shut the Medicaid protection hole that locks practically 4 million Americans out of protection simply because their state has refused to broaden Medicaid.  Lower prescription drug prices, which was talked about already, by permitting Medicare to barter costs for medication which are in the marketplace.

We can do that.  We ought to do that.  We have to do that.

But let me shut with this: Twelve years in the past, at a invoice signing of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama stated, quote, “We’re a nation that does what is hard, what is necessary, and what is right.”  That’s precisely what he did.  Exactly what he did. 

And, of us, that’s what now we have to do.  It’s what we do as Americans.  You know, it’s what all of you probably did right here in making the Affordable Care Act attainable.  I actually imply it. 

We simply hold it — we simply received to maintain it going and hold constructing on it.  We must hold the religion.  And we have to keep in mind: We’re the United States of America, and there’s merely — actually — nothing past our capability once we’re united and do it collectively. 

So, God bless you all, and will God shield our troops.  And now I’m going to signal an govt order. 

And, Barack, let me remind you: It’s a sizzling mic.  (Laughter and applause.)

I’ve to confess one factor I haven’t gotten down — Barack Obama might signal his title utilizing 9 completely different pens.  (Laughter.)  But I’m going to make use of one.

(The govt order is signed.)  (Applause.)

2:22 P.M. EDT


This web page was created programmatically, to learn the article in its unique location you possibly can go to the hyperlink bellow:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/04/05/remarks-by-president-biden-vice-president-harris-and-former-president-obama-on-the-affordable-care-act/
and if you wish to take away this text from our website please contact us

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