President Obama will use emotion to appeal to Catholic healthcare professionals in a speech about the future of American health care on Tuesday, as the future of his signature health law hangs in the balance at the Supreme Court.
In a speech before the Catholic Health Association’s annual assembly on Tuesday, Obama will tout numbers to support the controversial law, including Gallup’s estimate that the uninsured rate has fallen from 17.1% in 2013 to 11.9% in 2015 and that one in four uninsured Americans has gained coverage under the law. Some 16 million Americans, the Obama administration says, have gained coverage since the law was passed.
But he’ll also note the “outcomes that are harder to calculate” in his speech before the Catholic Health Association, days before the Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling on a challenge to whether enrollees in the law are entitled to subsidies under the law. If the justices rule against the government, the future of the law could be thrown into doubt.
“Yes, in the tally of pain and tragedy and bankruptcies that have been averted, but also in the security of a parent who can afford to take her kid to the doctor,” Obama will say. “The dignity of a grandfather who can get the preventive care he needs. The freedom of an entrepreneur who can start a new venture. The joy of a wife who thought she’d never again take her husband’s hand and go for a walk in God’s creation.”
Obama will also link the Catholic tradition of charity to American’s obligation to care for the downtrodden.“The rugged individualism that defines America has always been bound by a set of shared values; an enduring sense that we are in this together,” a preview of the speech reads. “That America is not a place where we simply ignore the poor or turn away from the sick.”
The Affordable Care Act has faced opposition from Republicans since its inception, but also from some leaders in the Catholic community who have stood firmly against portions of the law that deal with contraceptives. The Catholic Health Association, however, has supported the Affordable Care Act and even split with the United States Conference of Bishops to do so.
Obama will speak to the uphill battle the health care law has faced on Tuesday saying, “five years in, what we’re talking about is no longer just a law.”
“This isn’t about the Affordable Care Act,” he planned to say. “This isn’t about Obamacare. This isn’t about myths or rumors that won’t go away.”
Obama has repeatedly insisted that so-called myths and rumors are partially to blame for the case that is currently awaiting a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. During a press conference on Monday after the G7 Summit, Obama said the case "probably shouldn't even have been taken up."
“If, in fact, you have a contorted reading of the statute that says federal-run exchanges don’t provide subsidies for folks who are participating in those exchanges, then that throws off how that exchange operates,” Obama said Monday. ”It’s a bad idea. It’s not something that should be done based on a twisted interpretation of four words in -- as we were reminded repeatedly -- a couple-thousand-page piece of legislation.”