Former US President Barack Obama has called on members of Congress to act with “political courage” and not repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which was approved in 2010 under his tenure, after the House Republicans on May 4 approved to revoke it.

During his acceptance speech for the “Profile in Courage” Awards at the John F Kennedy library in Boston, Obama on Sunday night praised those lawmakers who voted for the ACA also known as Obamacare seven years ago, especially those who lost their parliamentary seats in doing so, Efe news reported.

“These men and women did the right thing. They did the hard thing. Theirs was a profile in courage,” the former President said.

But he also lashed out against those who just follow the doctrines of their party, despite knowing that their actions would harm the weak, in his first major political speech since leaving the White House on January 20.

“It is my fervent hope, and the fervent hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today’s members of Congress are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it bucks party dogmas.”

“I hope that current members of Congress recognize it takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential – but it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.” Obama added, referring to the congressional Republicans’ decisions to repeal the act.

The ACA approved by Obama in 2010, was, despite its failures, his greatest national political achievement which provided health insurance to tens of millions of people and saved as many millions of families who almost fell into bankruptcy because one of their family members were sick.

However, the Republicans made the so-called Obamacare their main target of attack and tried in more than 60 congressional voting sessions to revoke the legislation.

Repealing Obamacare also became one of the promises the current President Donald Trump made during his presidential campaign.

Trump’s bill to repeal Obamacare was finally approved by the Congress on May 4, which would lead to about 24 million people losing their medical care coverage, according to an independent study of the Capitol.

The bill, however, has yet to be considered by the Senate, where it awaits a more complex process and possible changes to its content.

“I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient” Obama concluded the speech, adding “but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right”.

First Published | 8 May 2017 2:32 PM
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