On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama will lunch with President Joe Biden at the White House and then share in a ceremony to celebrate the “success of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid,” according to a CNN report.
The Rose Garden ceremony will include remarks by Obama, who initiated the Affordable Care Act program on March 23, 2010. President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris will also be keynote speakers.
According to CNN, a White House official said that there would be several healthcare-related announcements during the ceremony.
On Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki announced Obama’s visit to the White House, his first return to the famed building since 2017.
In referencing the relationship between Obama and Biden, Psaki said:
“They are real friends, not just Washington friends. I’ll also note that as they did every week when former President Obama was president and President Biden was vice president – that’s a mouthful – they will have lunch tomorrow as well, as they used to do on a weekly basis.”
“I would note,” Psaki added, “that they continue to talk regularly.”
When pressed for more details on how the two have stayed in contact, Psaki replied that the two men talked by phone.
“I’m not going to give you the number of times they’ve had conversations, but I would note they consult on a range of issues, but also about their families and things happening in their personal lives,” Psaki said.
“And, you know, it’s not a relationship of obligation,” she added. “It’s one where they developed a deep and close friendship through the course of their time serving together.”
When Psaki was asked why Obama was not invited to the White House sooner, Psaki replied that Tuesday’s celebration of the Affordable Care Act was the “right time for the 44th president to return because the ACA was one of the proudest accomplishments that they worked on together.”
Psaki went on to explain that “President Biden and former President Obama both see the Affordable Care Act as an example – a shining example – of how government can work for the American people.”
Psaki also noted that “Republicans, for years, have tried to kill parts of the law – but major items, like pre-existing condition protections and young adults being able to stay on their parents’ insurance – remain.”
However, Psaki did not mention that Republican initiatives did not seek to overturn “pre-existing condition protections and young adults being able to stay on their parents’ insurance.”
Psaki also said she expected Obama to visit the White House again in the future:
“I suspect that former President Obama will be back when there is a portrait unveiling and perhaps for other engagements here as well in the future,” Psaki said.
The Daily Mail reported that “traditionally, the presidential predecessor is invited back by the White House’s current occupant for a portrait unveiling ceremony. However, former Republican President Donald Trump refused to hold the ceremony for Obama during his one term in office.”
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