For the very first time since leaving the White House in 2017, former President Barack Obama came to the White House on Tuesday to take part in a commemoration of the Affordable Care Act.
Obama Stole the Show
President Biden addressed and signed an executive order to extend affordable coverage under the legislation during the ceremony in the East Room.
Obama, who signed the Affordable Care Act into law in 2010, delivered a speech to a standing ovation. Biden greeted Obama with, “Mr. President, welcome back to the White House. It reminds me of the good old days.”
The audience, which included administration officials, legislators, and ACA proponents, stood for two minutes, cheering and clapping when Obama and Biden walked into the room with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Harris welcomed Obama, complimenting him for his “vision and leadership,” which she said, “laid the framework for this remarkable law.”
"I confess, I heard some changes had been made by the current president since I was last here." – Former President Obama jokes with President Biden during his visit to the White House for the first time since he left office in 2017. pic.twitter.com/gT8fGKhJkf
— CNN (@CNN) April 5, 2022
Obama made many jokes about the president, the first of which was addressing him as “Vice President Biden,” drawing amusement from both Biden and the audience.
Obama laughed and replied, “That was a joke.”
Later, Obama joked it had been “a while” since he visited the White House and said, “some adjustments have been done by the current leader since I was last here.”
The former president discussed the laborious process of enacting the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the opposition it faced.
Obama congratulated everyone who helped enact the Affordable Care Act, specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was in the audience. He also paid tribute to Harry Reid, the late majority leader who passed in December.
Obama Tried to Pass the Limelight to Biden
His highest praise, however, was confined to Biden, who served as vice president for the entire eight-year Obama administration.
Obama said the two “achieved a lot” together, but nothing left him more pleased than “giving better healthcare and more safeguards to millions of citizens across this country.”
“[Biden] devoted his life to the concept that public service is worthwhile, and that the purpose to run for political office is for bright days,” Obama remarked.
When Biden took the stage, he identified himself as “Barack Obama’s vice president,” prompting shouts and cheers.
I’ve been in the White House with many presidents. I’ve never seen a commander-in-chief be ostracized the way Joe Biden was yesterday during Obama’s visit. @FoxBusiness @BrianBrenberg. pic.twitter.com/YAeWG0BfE3
— Matt Schlapp (@mschlapp) April 6, 2022
Biden mentioned the two had lunch at the White House on Tuesday and joked they didn’t know “who was supposed to sit where.”
Biden congratulated Obama for his efforts in passing the Affordable Care Act, complimenting him for refusing to back down or give up.
“Let’s be honest,” Biden remarked, “the Affordable Healthcare Act has been called many things. However, Obamacare is the most appropriate.”
Biden signed an executive order to solve the “family problem” in the Affordable Care Act, which prohibits almost five million Americans from obtaining subsidized healthcare.
Following a clause to reorganize subsidies in the American Rescue Plan last year, this is Biden’s third major step to extend ACA coverage since assuming office.