Speed Reads

12 years later

Obama returns to the White House for the first time post-presidency to push health care reform

Former President Barack Obama joined President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris at the White House on Tuesday for a press conference commemorating the 12th anniversary of Obama's landmark Affordable Care Act and laying out future plans for health care reform, CNN reported.

"Feels good, doesn't it?" Harris said as she took the podium to introduce Obama. She then touted the ACA's success in providing health care to over 30 million Americans and called for legislation empowering Medicare to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies and making permanent the increased health insurance subsidies included in the 2021 COVID-19 relief bill.

Obama began by feigning confusion. "Thank you, Vice President Biden, Vice President — that was a joke," he said, stepping away from the podium to embrace Biden.

Obama called Biden an "extraordinary friend and partner" with whom he accomplished much, but said "nothing made me prouder" than passing the ACA.

"The reason we're here today," he continued, "is because President Biden, Vice President Harris, everybody who's worked on this thing understood from the start that the ACA wasn't perfect," though he added that, despite its flaws, it was "to quote a famous American, a pretty big deal."

At a signing ceremony for the ACA in 2010, Biden was caught on a hot mic whispering to Obama that passing health care reform legislation was "a big f--king deal."

"Feels like the good old days," Biden said as he took the podium. He then explained his plan to close the ACA's so-called "family glitch," which prevents some workers who add family members to their policies from qualifying for ACA subsidies.

Biden concluded the ceremony by signing an executive order that, according to CBS News, directed "agencies to do everything within their power to make health care more accessible and affordable." Before signing it, Biden warned Obama about hot mics.