Obama criticizes Senate health care bill: 'This bill will do you harm'

Defending his signature health care law, former president Barack Obama criticized the health care legislation unveiled Thursday by Senate Republican leaders and called on people to contact their lawmakers to protest.

"The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill," he wrote in a Facebook post. "It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America."

While it's unusual for a former president to comment on current policy debates, Obama's strong stance shouldn't be a surprise: the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is the defining part of Obama's domestic legacy. Before he left office, he met with congressional Democrats to plot how to keep Obamacare from being dismantled.

"Simply put, if there’s a chance you might get sick, get old, or start a family – this bill will do you harm," Obama said on Facebook. "And small tweaks over the course of the next couple weeks, under the guise of making these bills easier to stomach, cannot change the fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation."

His words seemed to echo President Trump's assessment of the House's own legislation to repeal Obamacare. According to a GOP Senate aide, Trump said the House health care bill was "mean." On Thursday, after the Senate version was released, Trump said it needed "a little negotiation, but it's going to be very good."

For his part, Obama said he believed that Democrats and Republicans could find a compromise to keep Americans from going through "pain."

"I believe it would demonstrate the kind of leadership that appeals to Americans across party lines. And I believe that it’s possible – if you are willing to make a difference again," he wrote. "If you’re willing to call your members of Congress. If you are willing to visit their offices. If you are willing to speak out, let them and the country know, in very real terms, what this means for you and your family."

 

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