Obama derides GOP for trying to undo 'hard-won progress' on health care

Former President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned that Republican-backed efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act would cause “real human suffering” and said “people are alive today" because of his signature legislation.

“So when I see people trying to undo that hard-won progress for the 50th or 60th time, with bills that would raise costs or reduce coverage or roll back protections for older Americans or people with pre-existing conditions, the expecting mom or the child with autism or asthma for whom coverage would once again be almost unattainable, it is aggravating,” Obama said at an event hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in New York City.

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump (L) listens as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. Trump is scheduled to meet with members of the Republican leadership in Congress later today on Capitol Hill. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama, right, listens as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. Obama on Thursday met face-to-face with Trump, who spent years questioning the eligibility of the first black U.S. president and now will succeed him. Photographer: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican President-elect Donald Trump (L) during a meeting on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama shakes hands with Republican President-elect Donald Trump (L) during a meeting on transition planning in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington,DC. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office at the White House on November 10, 2016 in Washington, DC. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump and former president Barack Obama stand on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with First Lady Melania Trump and Michelle Obama in Washington, D.C., U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Rob Carr/Pool TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 10: President-elect Donald Trump listens as President Barack Obama talks to the media in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) reaches out to greet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) as he and his wife Melania arrive for tea before the inauguration with the Obamas at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama walk out of the East front prior to Obama's departure from the 2017 Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS\Jack Gruber\Pool via USA TODAY NETWORK TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
(FILES) L-R: First Lady Melania Trump, President Donald Trump,former President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama at the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies at the in Washington, DC, on January 20, 2017. While the new US president has shown a capacity to change, both his tone and his positions, he has been unable to show the world a 'new' Trump, with a steady presidential style and a clearly articulated worldview. As the symbolic milestone of his 100th day in power, which falls on April 29, 2017, draws near, a cold, hard reality is setting in for the billionaire businessman who promised Americans he would 'win, win, win' for them. At this stage of his presidency, he is the least popular US leader in modern history (even if his core supporters are still totally behind him.) / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON / TO GO WITH AFP STORY, US-politics-Trump-100days (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) greet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania for tea before the inauguration at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) and first lady Michelle Obama (L) greet U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania for tea before the inauguration at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2017. Melania Trump presents a gift to Obama. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
US First Lady Melania Trump looks on as US President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama talk on the East front steps of the US Capitol after inauguration ceremonies on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Robyn BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
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“And all of this being done without any demonstrable economic or actuarial or plain common-sense rationale. It frustrates. And it’s certainly frustrating to have to mobilize every couple of months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents,” the former president continued.

Senate Republicans are making another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s landmark legislation, after narrowly failing to do so in August. However, lawmakers have yet to rally around the latest plan pushed by GOP Sens. Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.

House Republicans voted to amend or repeal the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times while Obama was in office. President Donald Trump has pushed Congress to make another go this month at repealing Obamacare, an oft-repeated campaign promise that helped get Trump and congressional Republicans elected in 2016.

Despite Obama's warnings about health care, his speech to the group, which is focused on global development, was mostly optimistic.

“People are alive today because of [Obamacare], and that's progress,” he said.

Obama has weighed in on political debates only sparingly since leaving office. The health care battle, immigration and the race-fueled riots in Virginia are among the few issues he has spoken out on publicly since Trump took office.

The former president on Wednesday warned that the "rise of nationalism and xenophobia" cannot cause generations to think the world has regressed. The themes were similar to the tone he took during his farewell speech in January, when he called on young people and those unhappy with the current political environment to get involved.

“We just have to reject the notion that we’re suddenly gripped by forces that we can’t control and embrace the longer, more optimistic view of history and the part that we play in it,” Obama said.

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Mark Cuban twitterstorm on health care
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Mark Cuban twitterstorm on health care
Dear politicians. Let me ask a question. If every person in our country had health insurance, would we be any healthier ?
@neeratanden I like the ACA for the limits it put on ins comp finances. It took us up to 90pct insured, but why hav… https://t.co/1ZeUgBkOZB
Read this/other studies and agree. But the goal is to make healthcare better,cheaper & universal not maxout the # o… https://t.co/AHfK4J67nY
No chance a system where you give an ins comp $, then beg them to spend it among limited options is the way to opti… https://t.co/1ng4rqAKRs
@neeratanden Insurance is a financial instrument. Full Stop. In any negotiation over a financial transaction the pa… https://t.co/HPJEqa0GpJ
The problem isn't profits. It's the artificial costs introduced by ins companies to retain control and leverage https://t.co/gcvT8cCoSG
@nic_dressen How do you design a healthcare system that doesn't include insurance?Take them out and costs drop 50pc… https://t.co/RCh7rz39dB
First thing I would do is invest fed funds to double med school capacity and offer needs based grants to double med students to 40k
No one says it happens overnight
Single Payer is not the solution.The tax $ paid to gov is = $ to ins comps and both deliver less in healthcare than $ they receive
@sjcookmd I think there are better solutions than single payer that also get better results
@sjcookmd Governments send the same letters and make the same kind of decisions when there are tax dollars involved
@DrewFromCleve Exactly why single payer won't work. You will get lower cost health care but get taxed into oblivion
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