About an hour after the Supreme Court agreed with him on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama appeared in the Rose Garden to briefly address the ruling. As msnbc’s David Taintor reported, the president made clear that the health care reform law is “here to stay.”
“The point is, this is not an abstract thing anymore,” Obama said in a statement from the White House’s Rose Garden. “This is not a set of political talking points. This is reality. We can see how it is working. This law is working exactly as its supposed to. In many ways, this law is working better than we expected it to.” […]“This was a good day for America,” he concluded. “Let’s get back to work.”
If you watch the video, note the pause between those last two phrases. I got the sense “Let’s get back to work” was a phrase that wasn’t in the prepared text – it was, in effect, Obama’s way of saying policymakers should move past the cheap shots and pointless charades, and instead engage in some actual, constructive work.
Also note the degree to which the president’s remarks seemed understated. Those who expected Obama to spike the football or come out and do mic-drop might have been disappointed – it was almost as if he assumed consumers would win the case, so there wasn’t any point to over-the-top celebration.
I was also struck by the president’s emphasis on the real winners today: it’s just not his administration that prevailed; it’s “a victory for hardworking Americans all across this country whose lives will continue to become more secure in a changing economy because of this law.”
“If you’re a parent, you can keep your kids on your plan until they turn 26 – something that has covered millions of young people so far. That’s because of this law. If you’re a senior, or an American with a disability, this law gives you discounts on your prescriptions – something that has saved 9 million Americans an average of $1,600 so far. If you’re a woman, you can’t be charged more than anybody else – even if you’ve had cancer, or your husband had heart disease, or just because you’re a woman. Your insurer has to offer free preventive services like mammograms. They can’t place annual or lifetime caps on your care because of this law. […]“And when it comes to preexisting conditions – someday, our grandkids will ask us if there was really a time when America discriminated against people who get sick. Because that is something this law has ended for good. That affects everybody with health insurance – not just folks who got insurance through the Affordable Care Act. All of America has protections it didn’t have before. […]“As the law’s provisions have gradually taken effect, more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage so far. Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today. The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep records.”
Well, when he puts it that way, the Republican repeal crusade starts to sound rather ridiculous.