washington — Former President Barack Obama returned to the White House Tuesday for the first time since leaving office for an event marking his 12th anniversaryas the Biden administration takes steps to lower costs for families who need coverage.
Obama began his remarks by jokingly referring to the current President as “Vice President Joe Biden.” Mr Biden welcomed his former boss back, saying it “feels like the good old days”.
“It’s good to be back in the White House,” Obama said. “It’s been a while. I confess I’ve heard that the current President has made some changes since I was last year. Apparently, Secret Service agents are now required to carry aviators. The naval mess has been replaced with a Baskin Robbins. andRunning around I guarantee you Beau it’s funny would have been very unlucky. But coming back, even if I have to wear a tie, which I very rarely do these days, gives me an opportunity to visit some of the incredible people who serve this White House and who serve this country every day.”
The former president said the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is an example of why public officials run for office — to transform the lives of everyday Americans. The law, also known as Obamacare, expanded access to health insurance for millions of Americans.
“I intended to push through health care, even if it cost me re-election – which seemed like it for a while,” Obama joked.
The event with the former president coincided with new measures the Biden administration announced on Tuesday to address what it has dubbed the “family flaw” in the ACA. Under current law, families are only eligible for health insurance through the ACA marketplace if they would be forced to spend more than about 10% of their income on coverage from their employer or other programs. But if an employee’s expenses exceed 10% when family members are added to an insurance plan, the family is still considered affordable and not eligible for subsidized coverage under the ACA.
“The reason we’re here today is because President Biden, Vice President Harris, everyone who worked on this thing understood from the start that the ACA wasn’t perfect,” Obama said Tuesday. “To get the law through, we had to make compromises. We didn’t get everything we wanted. That was no reason not to do it.”
A new rule proposed by the Treasury would allow family members who pay more than 10% of their income for health insurance to receive financial support.
“As a result, 200,000 uninsured people are expected to receive coverage and nearly a million more are expected to see lower premiums each day,” a senior administration official told reporters on a background call.
The rule would not go into effect until January 2023, and the official couldn’t say how much it would cost the government to fix the so-called “family bug” or how the government would pay for it. According to the official, Mr. Biden will sign an executive order directing authorities to do everything in their power to make health care more accessible and affordable.
Enrollment in ACA-subsidized plansduring the with a record 14.5 million Americans signing up for coverage in 2021. However, more generous financial support for coverage, which was included in the COVID-19 relief legislation, is expected to expire later this year, and Mr. Biden’s efforts to increase coverage are being stalled by his welfare spending legislation in Congress devices.
“The bottom line is this — the Affordable Care Act is stronger now than ever,” Mr. Biden said on Tuesday.