Barack Obama Speaks of Political Courage



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In a speech President Obama gave on Sunday May 7th, he spoke about unseen acts of political courage.  He and Michelle Obama were invited to the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston as he accepted the annual Profile in Courage Award. While he acknowledged the division in society and government he recalled the words of President John F. Kennedy speaking about  “daily acts of political courage” that often go unseen or unrecognized. Obama took the opportunity to say that in 2010, several lawmakers lost their seats in congress after voting for the Affordable Care Act.

“And so by the time the vote came up to pass the Affordable Care Act, these freshmen congressmen and women knew that they had to make a choice. That they had a chance to insure millions and prevent untold worry and suffering and bankruptcy, and even death, but that this same vote would likely cost them their new seats, perhaps end their political careers.

And these men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance who didn’t have it before.” 

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, and already influential. But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm,”  -Barack Obama 

The speech occurred just three days after House of Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA)  It is now going forward to the Senate for debate..

Why is this so important? How does it affect me as an American? Well first a quick recall on why Obamacare is important. Obamacare is sort of a three legged stool. First, it tells insurance companies that they can’t discriminate against sick people anymore; Secondly, it informs the people that they have to buy insurance or pay a fee so that people won’t have to wait to get sick to get covered; and thirdly, it helps people who can’t afford the plans they are choosing to purchase. Obamacare gets it’s funding from taxing the rich, it raises taxes on the 1% to help pay for insurance on the bottom 40%.

On the other hand the new Republican plan is a reverse Robin Hood. It’s taking tax subsidies from the poor to give as tax cuts to the rich. But still nobody knows how to undo or add new policies which wouldn’t cause the act to collapse. That is because Republicans still haven’t come up with a real plan almost 6 years later. The problem is is that it is too hard to come up with a conservative alternative to Obamacare when Obamacare is that alternative. The bottom line is that America needs to find the best way in attempting to insure the uninsured.

Now maybe Republicans really will come up with a plan of their own but maybe they won’t. I don’t see where they would get the funding or the money when they’re committed to getting rid of all the taxes that pay for Obamacare now.

 “I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is simply politically expedient, but doing what [people] believe in their hearts is right.” -Barack Obama