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Obama asks Congress to save Obamacare

BOSTON (AP) – Former President Barack Obama, in his first public comments about the ongoing debate over his signature health care plan, implored members of Congress on Sunday to demonstrate political courage even if it goes against their party’s positions.

Obama briefly returned to the spotlight as he accepted the annual John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award at JFK’s presidential library in Boston. The award is named for a 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Kennedy that profiled eight US senators who risked their careers by taking principled though unpopular positions.

In his approximately 30-minute speech after accepting the award, Obama steered clear of partisan attacks and never mentioned his successor, President Donald Trump, who has often criticized the previous administration and has worked to undo many of Obama’s initiatives, including the Affordable Care Act.

The former president recalled members of Congress who voted to pass the ACA during his presidency, only to lose their seat in later elections.

“They had a chance to insure millions,” he said. “But this vote could also cost them their seats, perhaps end their political careers.”

Obama made no direct reference to Thursday’s House vote to dismantle much of the health care law, but declared that while it did not take courage to help the rich and powerful, it does require courage to help the sick and vulnerable.

“It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions … such courage is still possible, that today’s members of Congress regardless of party are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions,” said Obama, whose appeal seemed to focus on wavering Republicans.

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