It took courage to pass the 2010 Affordable Care Act, former US president Barack Obama said Sunday evening as he accepted an award in Boston.
Some members of Congress knew voting for the healthcare measure – the former president’s signature legislative achievement, also known as Obamacare – could cost them their seats, but they still voted for it, Obama said.
“These men and women did the right thing,” Obama said. “They did the hard thing.
Theirs was a profile in courage. Because of that vote, 20 million people got health insurance that didn’t have it before.”
“And most of them did lose their seats,” he said. “But they were true to what President Kennedy defined in his book,” he said, referencing former US president John F Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage,” about eight senators who championed unpopular causes.
“It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that, regardless of party, such courage is still possible,” Obama said, noting that the healthcare debate continues.
The US House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly passed an Obamacare repeal, backed by US President Donald Trump, but the White House has offered no timetable for when it wants the Senate to pass healthcare legislation.
The annual Profile in Courage award honours a public official whose leadership resembles that of the senators in Kennedy’s book.
Past recipients have included former US president George HW Bush, senators John McCain and Russell Feingold and representative Gabby Giffords.