Obama returns to White House TODAY for speech with Biden on fixing ACA

Can Obama turn Biden’s dire polls around? Ex-President returns to the White House TODAY for speech with Joe on fixing the ‘family glitch’ in the Affordable Care Act – with Democrats in need of a midterm miracle

  • Barack Obama will return to the White House Tuesday as President Joe Biden  announces fixes to the ‘family glitch’ in the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
  • It comes as Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris continue to flounder in approval polls ahead of the 2022 midterm elections
  • Biden will announce on Tuesday a ‘fix’ to the so-called ‘family glitch’ in Obama’s namesake health care legislation Obamacare 
  • ‘This proposed rule would amount to the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment,’ a fact sheet states
  • Obama will on Tuesday ‘deliver remarks celebrating the success of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid’ 
  • The event is part of Biden’s effort to turn his focus to pocketbook issues that directly affect American households  
  • The president is also likely hoping for Obama to give his and Harris’ tanking approval ratings a boost

Barack Obama is coming to try and rescue Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms with his first trip back to the White House on Tuesday as President Joe Biden presents his revamp of the Affordable Care Act.

The former president will make remarks alongside the president and vice president in the South Lawn Rose Garden while Biden and Kamala Harris continue to flounder in polls.

Biden will lay out his administration’s plan to ‘fix’ the so-called ‘family glitch’ in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is more casually referred to as ‘Obamacare’, during a speech Tuesday afternoon.

‘They are real friends, not just Washington friends,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at Monday’s briefing on the former president’s impending visit to the White House. Psaki worked for both Democratic administrations.

She said the two men would have lunch together before the afternoon gathering in the Rose Garden – as they used to do on a weekly basis when they were President and VP.

‘I would note they continue to talk regularly,’ Psaki added.

A Tuesday morning fact sheet on the ACA proposal reads: ‘Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to strengthen the ACA by fixing the ‘family glitch,’ which would save hundreds of thousands of families hundreds of dollars a month.’ 

Current regulations make it so that the ACA is only available for those who do not have ‘affordable’ coverage solely for the employee, and not for family members. The Biden-Harris administration is seeking to fix this for the affected 5 million people who are unable to purchase healthcare on the ACA Marketplace.

Former President Barack Obama (right) will return to the White House Tuesday as President Joe Biden (left) announces fixes to the ‘family glitch’ in the Affordable Care Act. Pictured: The two men have a beer with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates (left) and Cambridge, Massachusetts, police Sergeant James Crowley (right) on race relations in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 30, 2009

The Rose Garden event on Tuesday will mark the first time Barack Obama returns to the White House since leaving for the final time as president in January 2017, with wife Michelle and daughter Malia (pictured)

‘The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are proposing to eliminate the ‘family glitch.’ Should today’s proposed rule be finalized, family members of workers who are offered affordable self-only coverage but unaffordable family coverage may qualify for premium tax credits to buy ACA coverage,’ the fact sheet explains.

‘Should the proposed change be made, it’s estimated that 200,000 uninsured people would gain coverage, and nearly 1 million Americans would see their coverage become more affordable,’ it continues.

‘This proposed rule would amount to the most significant administrative action to improve implementation of the ACA since its enactment.’

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and other members of Biden’s Cabinet will attend Tuesday’s event. 

The new ACA amendment comes as Biden’s poll numbers continue to spell doom for Democrats as his party prepares to try and keep their razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections.

Enter popular former President Obama, who will make his first trip back to the White House since leaving in January 2017. While the trip will propose fixes for the original act, it will also include a series of events to celebrate the ACA, which was signed into law in March 2010.

Psaki was asked Monday why Obama – who still has a residence in Washington, D.C. – hadn’t been invited to the White House sooner considering Biden has been in office for 15 months.

She said that Tuesday marked the ‘right time’ for the 44th president to return because the ACA was one of the ‘proudest accomplishments that they worked on together.’

She also revealed more details about Biden and Obama’s relationship, saying the two men talked by phone.

Obama and Biden are ‘real friends, not just Washington friends,’ White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday of the impending reunion. Pictured: The two greet each other during Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021

A major part of Biden’s announcement on Tuesday will include ‘fixing the ‘family glitch” which doesn’t allow family members not offered affordable healthcare through employers the option to go to the ACA Marketplace

‘I’m not going to give you the number of times they’ve had conversations, but I would note they consult on a range of issues, but also about their families and things happening in their personal lives,’ Psaki described.

‘And, you know, it’s not a relationship of obligation,’ she continued. ‘It’s one where they developed a deep and close friendship through the course of their time serving together and that has continued.’

Biden and Harris are likely hoping that Obama will sprinkle some stardust on their flagging approval ratings. Their historic predecessor – America’s first black president – remains hugely popular within his party, and appears markedly-more energetic than 79 year-old Biden, who is on track for a midterms wipeout.

Several polls show Biden’s approval at a dismal 39 percent and an average from Real Clear Politics has the president averaging a 53.7 percent disapproval rating.

‘He’s the third most unpopular president at this point in his administration,’ said pollster Frank Luntz.

Tuesday’s event is part of Biden’s effort to turn his focus to pocketbook issues that directly affect American households. While job growth has been steady since he took office, inflation is at its worst level in a generation.

The White House said Biden ‘will take additional action to further strengthen the ACA and save families hundreds of dollars a month on their health care.’ 

Obama will celebrate the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, on Tuesday. He is pictured signing it into law in March 2010 

Biden famously celebrated the passing of the law by exclaiming over a hot mic that it was ‘a big f–king deal’. He and Obama are pictured on the day that it was signed 

At the White House signing ceremony in 2010, Biden famously whispered to the then-president, ‘This is a big f**king deal,’ a comment that was caught on hot mic and Biden still makes jokes about.

Psaki explained Monday that, ‘President Biden and former President Obama both see the Affordable Care Act as an example – a shining example – of how government can work for the American people.’

She pointed to improvements and expansions that have been made to the ACA since the law’s 2010 passage.

Republicans, for years, have tried to kill parts of the law – but major items, like pre-existing condition protections and young adults being able to stay on their parents’ insurance – remain. 

Act offered biggest expansion of health coverage in 45 years  

Passed and signed into law in 2010, the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is considered former President Barack Obama’s signature legislature, to the point where it was referred to as ‘Obamacare’ by both its detractors and supporters.

The bill passed 220-211 in the House and a 56-43 Senate margin in the largely Democrat-controlled Congress. 

The ACA was the biggest regulatory overhaul and expansion of health coverage since the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Before the ACA, insurers could turn a person down for an individual policy, or charge them more, based on their medical history. 

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that about 54 million working-age adults have health issues that would have made them ‘uninsurable.’

Republicans have long considered the law a turn toward socialized medicine and spent years attempting to repeal the law. Despite controlling the Senate, House and Presidency in 2017 and 2018, the GOP was unable to do so. 

The Supreme Court has also upheld the law on multiple occasions. 

Before the ACA passed in 2010, insurers could turn a person down for an individual policy, or charge them more, based on their medical history. 

COVID-19 would become America’s newest pre-existing condition, for more than 10 million people who have tested positive so far. But under the ACA, a coronavirus case cannot be used to deny someone coverage or charge them more. If Obamacare is gone, that becomes a real question. 

In addition to COVID possibly being a new pre-existing condition, the ACA’s two main programs for covering uninsured people would be wiped out if the law is overturned, leaving more than 20 million people uninsured unless a divided Congress can put a new safety net in place.

About 12 million low-income people are covered through the health law’s Medicaid expansion, now available in most states. 

Most of them are adults working in jobs that don’t pay much, and don’t come with health insurance. 

Some have lost jobs in businesses like hotels, restaurants, and movie theaters, which continue to struggle because of the pandemic.

Another group, more than 11 million people, has private coverage purchased through taxpayer-subsidized private markets such as HealthCare.gov. This is also in jeopardy.

As it relates to preventive care, most American women now pay nothing out of their own pockets for birth control. That’s covered as a preventive service, free of charge to the patient, under the ACA. 

In 2017, Sen. John McCain gave a dramatic thumbs’ down on a GOP vote to repeal Obamacare

COVID-19 would become America’s newest pre-existing condition, for more than 10 million people who have tested positive so far. Under the ACA, having the virus cannot be used to deny someone coverage or charge them more

Many other services, from colonoscopies to flu shots, are also free. 

If people again face copays for routine preventive care, that may discourage some to go for tests shown to detect diseases like cancer at early stages when they are easier to treat.

Obamacare took the first major steps to close Medicare’s unpopular ‘doughnut hole,’ a coverage gap that used to leave seniors on the hook for hundreds of dollars in prescriptions drug costs. Congress later accelerated the timetable.

In 2017, President Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress harbored hopes they could ‘repeal and replace’ the ACA.

It didn’t happen then because Republicans could never agree on what a replacement would look like with Senator John McCain famously giving a thumbs down to vote no. 

Former President Barack Obama speaks during a memorial service for former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at the Smith Center in Las Vegas, Jan. 8, 2022

The celebration of the 2010 health care bill will be their first appearance together since they attended events commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City last year. 

The event marks Biden and Obama’s first appearance in Washington since Biden was inaugurated in January of last year. 

The 44th president spoke in a June video where he and Biden talked about the work they did on health care.  

‘Joe Biden, we did this together. We always talked about how if we could get the principle of universal coverage established, we could then build on it,’ Obama said in the video.

Obama and former First Lady Michelle will likely be returning to Pennsylvania Avenue again soon for the unveiling their official presidential portraits.

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