Obama Says the Debate On Health Care Isn’t Over

In Healthcare On

Mr. Obama defended the 2010 health measure, his signature domestic achievement, as the right thing to do, and he praised Democratic members of Congress for voting to pass it despite the risks to their political future.

“It takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential,” Mr. Obama said, “but it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.”

On Thursday, Mr. Trump celebrated with House members who had voted to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, declaring, “Welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare.” But Mr. Obama did not mention Mr. Trump during his speech on Sunday, and he did not directly address the attempts to unravel the Affordable Care Act. As he has throughout his three months out of office, he also avoided any hint of criticism of Mr. Trump’s sometimes chaotic debut.

To weigh in, Mr. Obama believes, would be a violation of his duty as a past president to let his successor operate without hindrance from him. That determination has frustrated some of Mr. Obama’s longtime supporters, who are eager to see him challenge Mr. Trump’s policies.

Instead, Mr. Obama used his address to speak broadly about the need for politicians and citizens to be courageous.

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