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Health Care

The Obama Administration

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While in office, President Obama promoted public health, advanced health science and innovation, and built stronger, healthier communities.

President Obama’s health care policies had even broader and more transformative implications for the U.S. economy. In the years to come, the ability to buy portable and affordable plans on a competitive marketplace would allow countless Americans to move, start businesses, and dream big American dreams – without worrying if an illness will bankrupt them.

Helped Kids Get Fit with “Let’s Move!”

February 9th, 2010

In 2009, Mrs. Obama planted the White House Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of the country. In time, that conversation led to Let’s Move!. Through policy, programs, public awareness, and partnerships, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years; giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices; providing healthier foods in our schools; ensuring that every family has access to healthy, affordable food; and helping children become more physically active.

Mrs.Obama plays tug-a-war with a man with a light skin tone in the oval office.
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Mrs. Obama participates in a tug of war with Jimmy Fallon in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House during a “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” taping for the second anniversary of the "Let’s Move!" initiative.

Secured Affordable Health Care for All Americans

March 23, 2010

Health reform put American families and small business owners in control of their own health care. It made insurance more affordable by providing the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, reducing premium costs for tens of millions of families and small business owners who had been priced out of coverage.  Under the plan, 95% of Americans were insured.

It set up a new competitive health insurance market, giving tens of millions of Americans the same choices of insurance that members of Congress will have, and it brought greater accountability to health care by laying out commonsense rules of the road to keep premiums down and prevent insurance industry abuses and denial of care. It ended discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions. And it put our budget and economy on a more stable path by reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion over ten years — and more than $1 trillion over the second decade — by cutting government overspending and reining in waste, fraud and abuse.

A woman with a deep skin tone wearing a white sweater holding a blue sign that says "thank you". There is a crowd of people of a variety of skin tones blurred out surrounding her. The ceiling is beige with a diamond pattern.
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A paper marked "APPROVED" at the top with the text "MAR 2 3 2010" below it in slightly smaller letters. Farther below this text is President Barack Obama's signature signed largely.
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A member of the audience holds a "Thank You" sign during President Barack Obama's speech on medicare fraud and health care insurance reform, at St. Charles High School in St. Charles, Mo., March 10, 2010. (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

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President Barack Obama's signature on the health insurance reform bill at the White House, March 23, 2010.  (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

In the six years following the enactment of the ACA, nearly 18 million Americans gained health coverage, and the nation’s uninsured rate shrunk to the lowest ever recorded. Thanks to the ACA, 137 million Americans with private health coverage, including 55 million women and 28 million children, were guaranteed preventive services coverage with no out-of-pocket costs.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act

December 13, 2010

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act updated school meal nutrition standards for the first time in 15 years and increased school meal funding for the first time in 30 years. The law boosted the quality and nutrition of meals for over 50 million children through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Its regulations substantially increased offerings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and reduced the amount of saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

First Lady Michelle Obama, wearing a tan, red, and black patterned sweater and blue pants, reaches over a lunch table and touches the head of a young boy with a deep skin tone. Also sitting at the table are three young individuals with light-medium skin tones. There are a variety of young individuals sitting in the background blurred out.

Mrs. Obama has lunch with students at Parklawn Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Jan. 25, 2012. Mrs. Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the school to sample a healthy meal that meets the United States Department of Agriculture's new and improved nutrition standards for school lunches. (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

“We can all agree that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, all children should have the basic nutrition they need to learn and grow and to pursue their dreams, because in the end, nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. Nothing. And our hopes for their future should drive every single decision that we make.”
- Michelle Obama, December 13, 2010

Modernized Medical Records

Until the President made investments in health information technology by signing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, our health care system ran largely on paper. Now, more than 75 percent of doctors now use electronic health records thanks to Administration policies.

Helped Insure Millions of Young Adults

2.3 million additional young adults (aged 19-25) gained health insurance coverage between the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the start of open enrollment in October 2013 due to the ACA provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan until age 26.

Read: Health Insurance Coverage and The Affordable Care Act, 2010–2016 Opens in a new tab

Reduced the Medicaid Coverage Gap

June 2015

The Obama Administration expanded Medicaid to all previously ineligible adults with incomes under 133 percent of the federal poverty level with unprecedented federal support (the Supreme Court directed that this expansion be at the discretion of states).

The U.S. has seen the sharpest reduction in the uninsured rate since the decade following the creation of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965, and the nation’s uninsured rate is now at its lowest level ever.

The Supreme Court Upheld the Affordable Care Act

June 25, 2015

On June 25, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 decision on King v. Burwell, upholding a key part of the Affordable Care Act. Millions of Americans who got covered in health insurance marketplaces would be able to stay covered, no matter where they lived.

Bolstered Preventive Care

The Affordable Care Act created new incentives to promote workplace wellness programs and encourages employers to take more opportunities to support healthier workplaces. Effective for plan years after January 1, 2014, final rules allowed the maximum reward to employers using a health-contingent wellness program to increase from 20 percent to 30 percent of the cost of health coverage, and the maximum reward for programs designed to prevent or reduce tobacco use would be as much as 50 percent.

The Obama Administration eliminated out-of-pocket costs for recommended preventive services, including depression screenings for adults and adolescents, through the Affordable Care Act, and required the posting of calorie information on menus of chain restaurants with 20 or more locations and vending machines.

Responded to Ebola

The Obama Administration developed a comprehensive, intergovernmental strategy to combat outbreaks of the flu (H1N1), Ebola, and other infectious diseases.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa grew into the deadliest one the world has ever seen — and the President committed to treating and tackling Ebola as both a national security priority, and an example of American leadership.

The U.S. built, coordinated, and led a worldwide response to the Ebola outbreak while strengthening our preparedness here at home. And thanks to the hard work of our military members, civilian responders, and health care workers, we dramatically bent the curve of the epidemic. Cases went down 80 percent from peak levels.

President Obama sits across five individuals with different skin tones at a long brown table with two pink flower bouquets in the center of the table. There is a white wall in the background with two portrait paintings and three lamps.
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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden hold a multilateral meeting with West African leaders regarding Ebola, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, April 15, 2015. Seated across from the President, from left, are President Alpha Conde of Guinea; Amara Konneh, Minister of Finance, Liberia; President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; Julia Duncan Cassell, Minister of Gender and Development, Liberia and President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone. (Courtesy Barack Obama Presidential Library)

Removed Discrimination from Health Care

The Affordable Care Act prohibited coverage denials and reduced benefits due to pre-existing conditions. Today, as many as 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied health coverage.

The ACA also prohibited charging more for women to receive coverage. Since September of 2013, the uninsured rate for women has dropped nearly 50 percent, meaning that about 9.5 million adult women have gained coverage.

The Affordable Care Act also contained many important benefits for American Indians and Alaska Natives. First and foremost, it includes the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, ensuring that the IHS is here to stay. It also improved benefits and protections for American Indians and Alaska Natives who have insurance, whether they receive care inside or outside the IHS. And it gives them more choices for health coverage, including Medicaid and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

President Obama, eyes squinted and large smile, looks at a child through a big black magnifying glass. They appear to be in a classroom with other children nearby.

Learn more about the Obama Administration

Browse the story of President Obama’s administration and the Obama family’s time in the White House.