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14 Years Of The Affordable Care Act


March 23, 2024

14 years ago today President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law.

As President Obama said in a statement, thanks to the ACA “more than 21 million Americans now have access to quality, affordable health care. Today, young people are staying on their parents’ plans until they’re 26. Americans with pre-existing conditions are no longer being denied coverage. Seniors and people with disabilities are paying less for prescription drugs. And Americans everywhere are switching jobs and starting their own businesses without worrying about losing their insurance.”

The image is a photograph of Barack Obama’s signature signed on the Affordable Care Act. The image is of a sheet of paper: at the top of the paper is the word “Approved” stamped on. Underneath “Approved” is text that reads, “March 23 2010.” Below that is President Barack Obama’s signature.

The story of the Affordable Care Act is one that will be featured in the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center, where visitors will be able to hear directly from some of the Obama Administration alumni who made the law possible. 

This week, we sat down with five Obama Alumni who are working to advance health care coverage in their communities. Through their work physicians, counselors, organizers, and advocates, they embody all the ways alumni of the Obama Administration have picked up the baton and continued to carry progress forward.

The image is a combined photo of five women. The first is Clarissa Kornell: she has long curly dark hair, a light olive complexion and is wearing a dark pink shirt with a light pink scarf. Clarissa is smiling in the picture. The second woman is Sabra Townsend: she has shoulder length locs that are curled. Sabra has a medium brown skinned complexion and is wearing a dark blue blazer with an orange shirt underneath. Sabra is smiling in the picture. The third woman is Juliet Choi: she has dark hair cut into a shoulder-length bob and she has an olive complexion. Juliet is wearing black glasses, a brown necklace, and a short sleeved blue blouse. Juliet is smiling in the picture. The fourth woman is Alefiyah Mesiwala. Alefiyah has long black hair, dark olive skin and hazel eyes. Alefiyah is wearing a dark blue scarf and a black shirt and smiling in the picture. The fifth woman is Jamie Lockhart: Jamie has long dark brown hair and pale skin. Jamie is wearing a pink blazer and a black shirt underneath. Jamie is also wearing a small diamond necklace and smiling in the picture.

Yesterday, Incite at Columbia University also released a new set of 26 interviews the Affordable Care Act. They feature administration alumni, congressional staff, advocates, and real people offering behind the scenes perspectives on the law’s passage and impact.  

It includes reflections from people like Nancy-Ann DeParle, who headed the White House Office of Health Care Reform.

You can learn more about the interviews and the broader Obama presidency oral history project here.