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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

October 22, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

ColumnsProgressive Pundit

What Obama did for the U.S.

Last week, Barack Obama experienced his last day as president of the United States. While he did not accomplish everything he intended to in his eight years in office, Obama did make a significant impact on the American people.

When he was sworn in as president in 2009, Obama became the first black president of the U.S. This was an achievement, as he endured many racist attacks, such as allegations that he was not even born in the U.S. Despite making history and breaking a racial barrier, he leaves behind a nation that citizens view as even more racially divided than when he started. Having a black president could not protect many unarmed black men from being shot by police officers or prevent the protests that followed. However, Obama’s time in office will certainly serve as an important milestone in this long process of mending racial divides.

One policy Obama will likely be most remembered for is his Affordable Care Act (ACA), which served as a massive overhaul in the U.S. healthcare system. The ACA did not have everything Obama wanted, and there are some improvements he wanted to make, such as reducing the cost of prescription drugs. ACA did protect Americans who needed medical care the most, and many people feel it saved their lives because they would not have been able to afford life-saving medical procedures without insurance. A study published by the Urban Institute suggested that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured in the next five years if the ACA was repealed. President Donald Trump has already issued an executive order to start scaling back the law, and it will likely be completely repealed soon. Hopefully, a replacement plan can protect the people who were only insured because of the ACA.

Arguably, Obama’s hardest task when he was elected as president was to bring the U.S. out of the Great Recession. While some Americans are still struggling after the recession, over 15 million jobs have been created since 2010 and unemployment has gone from 7.3 percent to 3.9 percent. This is no small feat considering the economic crisis Obama inherited.

Although Obama made significant strides in moving America forward during his presidency, many of his acts were controversial and may be repealed by the current Republican Congress and President Trump. Hopefully, the history books will still remember some of the great changes Obama brought to America and the many people whose lives he improved.