Former President Barack Obama addressed healthcare recently, infusing Americans with new hope. Obama was in Boston to accept the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award and showed his courage when he spoke out about healthcare during his speech.
This year’s award was even more historic, as it is the 100th anniversary of JFK’s birth. His daughter Caroline and her son Jack were on hand to watch Barack Obama receive the reward and make his stirring speech.
He spoke about political courage, and the Congresspeople who were elected to the House the same year he was elected to the Presidency. Then, Obama addressed the issue of healthcare.
Calling the topic “a great debate,” Obama said that the heart of the matter is this: “whether a nation as wealthy as the United States of America would finally make healthcare not a privilege, but a right for all Americans.”
He said the freshmen Congressmen and women had to make a choice to insure millions in a vote that may cost them their new seats, even their careers.
Obama said it was a “profile in courage” when these freshmen did “the right thing” by voting for the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. “Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance,” though many of those people in Congress did lose their seats.
He said he hopes that this kind of courage is still possible. And though Obama never mentioned Trump by name, he did say that “this great debate is not settled.”
“It actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful,” Obama said. “But it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm and those who often have no access to the corridors of power.”
The rousing speech called for new political courage from legislators, the kind of courage House Republicans did not show last week when they hurriedly voted for Trumpcare to get the bill out of their way. The bill has since moved to the Senate, where analysts say it will not pass.
Let’s hope the Senate is courageous enough to make that prediction true.
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Obama is the third U.S. President to receive the award. Gerald Ford received the award in 2001, and George H.W. Bush was a recipient in 2014.
President George H.W. Bush received the award for working with Democrats in Congress to reduce the federal deficit. His bipartisan budget involved compromise: Bush agreed to increase taxes, despite being lambasted by conservatives and his own party for making this decision. The courageous decision may have helped to cost him his reelection.
America needs courage now, the kind that crosses the aisle and stands firm on doing what’s right. The kind of courage that allows 20 million people to keep their healthcare, and treats the sick when they’re ill or injured.
Have you got the courage to share this story with everyone you know? Help spread the word, and help spread the hope that there are still people out there with enough courage to do what’s right over what makes them the most money.