More

Americans speak out in favor of the Affordable Care Act. Obama added his voice.

With a vote on a possible replacement bill looming, President Obama steps in.

With the future of health care in the U.S. on the line, people are making their voices heard — loudly.

Calls are flooding members of Congress urging them to vote against the Affordable Care Act replacement bill currently being considered by the House of Representatives. Rep. Dan Donovan (R-New York) said calls from his constituents are 1,000-to-1 against the bill.

People rally in support of the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court on June 25, 2015. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.


Millions of people are taking action against the bill and urging Congress to save the ACA.

This morning, one more name joined the chorus: former President Barack Obama.

Obama signed the ACA into law, and on the seventh anniversary of that landmark legislation, he released a statement in its defense.

Obama delivers his farewell address on Jan. 10, 2017, in Chicago. Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images.

Here are seven important points Obama made that'll inspire you to call your member of Congress ahead of today's vote.

1. The days before the Affordable Care Act were rough. Really rough.

"When I took office, millions of Americans were locked out of our health care system. So, just as leaders in both parties had tried to do since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, we took up the cause of health reform."

When he took office, an estimated 45.7 million Americans were uninsured, putting them just one catastrophic event away from drowning in hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in medical debt. Annual premium increases were skyrocketing, and something needed to be done. That something was the Affordable Care Act.

Felue Chang, newly insured under an insurance plan through the Affordable Care Act, receives a checkup in 2014. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

2. Change is hard and doesn't happen overnight.

"It was a long battle, carried out in Congressional hearings and in the public square for more than a year. But ultimately, after a century of talk, decades of trying, and a year of bipartisan debate, our generation was the one that succeeded. We finally declared that in America, health care is not a privilege for a few, but a right for everybody."

Health care reform was a long time coming, and the ACA was a powerful step in the right direction. To see all that work erased would be a shame.

President Obama signs the bill into law on March 23, 2010. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

3. The Affordable Care Act helped improve an unequal health care system and required compromise from both parties.

"Thanks to this law, more than twenty million Americans have gained the security and peace of mind of health insurance. Thanks to this law, more than ninety percent of Americans are insured — the highest rate in our history. Thanks to this law, the days when women could be charged more than men and Americans with pre-existing conditions could be denied coverage altogether are relics of the past."

The ideas that netted those results didn't come from any one party. For example, the individual mandate — the requirement that all Americans get health coverage, which drove down the uninsured rate — was originally a Republican idea supported by Sen. Orrin Hatch and House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Many Democrats, including Obama, were in favor of either a public option or a single-payer system, but they scrapped those ideas in the name of compromise.

People rally at the Supreme Court to support the ACA in March 2015. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

4. Misinformation about the law existed before it was passed, and it thrives today. Here are the facts.

"Since the law passed, the pace of health care inflation has slowed dramatically. Prices are still rising, just as they have every year for decades — but under this law, they’ve been rising at the slowest rate in fifty years. Families who get coverage through their employer are paying, on average, thousands of dollars less per year than if costs kept rising as fast as they were before the law. ... [T]his law is no 'job-killer,' because America’s businesses went on a record-breaking streak of job growth in the seven years since I signed it."

Remember "death panels" (PolitiFact's 2009 "Lie of the Year")? The latest iteration of that sort of misinformation comes in the form of claims that the ACA is in the midst of a "death spiral," with premium costs soaring out of control.

Vice President Biden gets caught on a hot mic telling President Obama that passing the law is a "big f-ing deal." Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

5. The law is not perfect. But if Democrats, Republicans, and independents work together, we can fix its flaws.

"So if Republicans are serious about lowering costs while expanding coverage to those who need it, and if they’re prepared to work with Democrats and objective evaluators in finding solutions that accomplish those goals — that’s something we all should welcome."

The current plan being considered by Congress doesn't accomplish those goals. In fact, with a Congressional Budget Office estimate of as many as 24 million people losing coverage under the replacement plan, it would almost certainly be an unmitigated disaster that makes life harder for the majority of Americans.

Sen. Al Franken touts the positive aspects of the ACA during a March 2015 press conference. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

6. The Affordable Care Act is the result of everyday people making their voices heard. We need those same voices today to help protect the law.

"The Affordable Care Act is law only because millions of Americans mobilized, and organized, and decided that this fight was about more than health care — it was about the character of our country."

People protest the Trump administration's attempts to replace the ACA on January 25, 2017. Photo by David McNew/AFP/Getty Images.

7. Whether we see health care as a right or as a privilege for just a select few says a lot about who we are as a country.

"It was about whether the wealthiest nation on Earth would make sure that neither illness nor twist of fate would rob us of everything we’ve worked so hard to build. It was about whether we look out for one another, as neighbors, and fellow citizens, who care about each other’s success."

Are we the kind of country that puts people over profits? Are we able to empathize with someone who doesn't look like us, talk like us, think like us, or pray like us to ensure that they have a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? What direction we take here — whether improve the system or dismantle it — will say a lot about not only who are as a country, but who we want to be.

If that's the kind of country we want to be, then now is the time to call our members of Congress and urge them not to gut the Affordable Care Act, but to improve it.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


Keep Reading Show less

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

Keep Reading Show less
Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Keep Reading Show less