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(108,775 posts)
Fri Apr 8, 2022, 02:09 PM Apr 2022

Obama's White House visit a reminder of past hopes [View all]

By Robin Givhan / The Washington Post

The 44th president returned to the White House wearing a suit and tie and joking that he rarely dresses so formally, now that he’s a private citizen, albeit one with “more than a passing interest in the course of our democracy.” In a crowded East Room, in a sea of soberly dressed men in stark white shirts — as well as women in their panoply of power attire — former president Barack Obama was the distinctly loose-limbed statesman in the charcoal suit and the indigo-blue shirt.

He stood on the small stage between Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden with his arms folded in front of him and with his chin tilted upward in a familiar posture, the one that projects a combination of confidence and optimism. The three of them, the past and the present, these mere humans that history has tasked with representing hope and progress and healing, entered the room together to a sustained ovation and jubilant applause from an audience filled with Cabinet members, friendly legislators and constituent admirers.

Obama returned to the White House on Tuesday for the first time since vacating it in January 2017, to speak to the enduring impact of his signature achievement: the Affordable Care Act. After it was signed into law in 2010, it allowed some 20 million people who had been without health care to get it. It put an end to insurance companies being able to deny people coverage because of preexisting conditions or to cut off their coverage because they’d outspent an arbitrary lifetime cap on financial support. The ACA was hardly perfect. Some people were still uninsured. There were plenty of glitches and shortcomings in the system. The public remains deeply divided, along partisan lines, yet a record 14.5 million Americans signed up for the insurance during the most recent open enrollment.

“Throughout history, what you see is that it’s important to get something started, to plant a flag, to lay a foundation for further progress. The analogy I’ve used about the ACA before is that, in the same way that was true for early forms of Social Security, Medicare, it was a starter home,” Obama said. “It secured the principle of universal health care, provided help immediately to families, but it required us to continually build on it and make it better.”


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Those are not merely past hopes. murielm99 Apr 2022 #1
+1 Blue_Tires Apr 2022 #2
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