On Thursday afternoon, hours after Senate Republicans finally made their health care plan public, former President Barack Obama condemned the bill in an open letter on Facebook. Read it in full below.
Obama reflected on the process that lead to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, his signature health care legislation that became known as Obamacare, and compared it to the much-criticized secrecy Senate Republicans employed to write their own 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," he wrote, "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 returned to lines employed frequently during his presidency: outlining how the ACA had improved lives, while admitting that it was "far from perfect," and claiming to be open to a Republican health care plan that is "demonstrably better." The current Republican plan, he wrote, "hands enormous tax cuts to the rich and to the drug and insurance industries, paid for by cutting health care for everybody else."
The bill has a "fundamental meanness," he said, a reference to President Donald Trump's leaked remarks about the House-passed version of the Republican health care plan. "Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm."
Obama also spoke directly to the members of Congress who will vote on the repeal-and-replace bill, possibly as soon as next week: "I still hope that there are enough Republicans in Congress who remember that public service is not about sport or notching a political win, that there’s a reason we all chose to serve in the first place, and that hopefully, it’s to make people’s lives better, not worse."
Constituents should make their voices heard, Obama concluded. "If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family."