In his first Facebook post since President Donald Trump took office, former President Barack Obama wrote a long diatribe attacking Senate Republicans’ healthcare bill.
“We didn’t fight for the Affordable Care Act for more than a year in the public square for any personal or political gain— we fought for it because we knew it would save lives, prevent financial misery, and ultimately set this country we love on a better, healthier course,” he wrote Thursday afternoon.
The ACA, largely seen as the former president’s principle policy achievement of his eight years in the White House, could be completely transformed if the Republican-controlled House agrees with the Senate’s proposal. President Trump has promised a repeal of Obamacare with a plan that he says will lead to better coverage and cheaper premiums.
“Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones— a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams,” Obama wrote.
Not a single Republican voted in favor of the ACA back in 2009. Until recently, the public largely disapproved of the new entitlement program, with many blaming it for rising premiums and limited consumer insurance choices.
Obama described the Senate plan as “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.” While there are no “transfers of wealth” in the new bill, Senate Republicans did slash or eliminate many of the tax hikes in Obamacare.
“To put the American people through that pain— while giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut in return— that’s tough to fathom. But it’s what’s at stake right now. So it remains my fervent hope that we step back and try to deliver on what the American people need.”
While Obama never mentions what exactly his signature policy achievement needs in terms of fixing, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized that the current state of American healthcare must change. Many insurance carriers are leaving the Obamacare exchanges entirely, while others are charging middle class families massive premiums and deductibles.
The Facebook post also spurred speculation that Obama might become more vocal opposing Trump and the GOP’s policies. Traditionally, former presidents refrain from criticizing their successors and instead devote time to charities or other nonprofit work.