After the Republican senators of the US presented the latest version of their healthcare bill yesterday to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 or Obamacare launched by Barack Obama, a Democrat, seven years ago, predecessor of the Republican US President Donald Trump, Obama has hit back.

In his first detailed response in months on the controversy over Obamacare and its replacement with Trumpcare or the Republican healthcare act, a central campaign promise of Donald Trump, Obama has decimated the Republican noise on a bill that is expected to leave millions of Americans out of the US government mandated healthcare protection.

While presenting arguments in favour of Obamacare, Obama writes in his Facebook post that the legislation has helped cover 90 per cent Americans and companies cannot ask for more or deny insurance citing some pre-existing health condition and has slowed down the pace of rising healthcare costs, Obama has slammed the Republican version as a hastily arrived antithesis to what Obamacare stands for.

He writes, citing objective analyses and the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “the legislation rushed through the House and the Senate without public hearings or debate would do the opposite. It would raise costs, reduce coverage, roll back protections, and ruin Medicaid as we know it” while adding that though a significant step, “ACA was not perfect, nor could it be the end of our efforts – and that if Republicans could put together a plan that is demonstrably better than the improvements we made to our health care system, that covers as many people at less cost, I would gladly and publicly support it.”

Trump, during the campaign phase of the US presidential polls, and even after his election, had raised hopes of a healthcare act to replace Obamacare that would guarantee ‘universal healthcare’ but going by the versions of the Republican healthcare bill so far, there has been a growing consensus in the US that if implemented in the current form, the Republican legislation would devoid millions of the much needed healthcare protection and at the same time would increase healthcare cost for many and would ruin Medicaid, a US government programme for financially weaker section that has been in place for decades.

Obama writes that he hopes that even many Republicans who fought for the ACA would see these concerns and would say no to the bill in current form, “Thousands upon thousands of Americans, including Republicans, threw themselves into that collective effort, not for political reasons, but for intensely personal ones – a sick child, a parent lost to cancer, the memory of medical bills that threatened to derail their dreams.”

And Obama is right. Within hours of the unveiling of the Republican legislation, four conservative Republicans have come out to say that they cannot support the bill in its current form, a Reuters report said.

Either Donald Trump or Republican senators have not been able to come out with a piece of legislation that would be smart enough to outdo the Obamacare. Democrats have stood united against any proposed Republican healthcare bill so far. But what should be eye-opener for Republicans that even many Republicans are against the Obamacare replacement in its present form that makes Republicans, who are in majority, short of votes to pass the bill in the House as happened in May when, in a major defeat for Donald Trump, the Republicans had to withdraw the legislation as they could not garner numbers even after months of canvassing.

Accusing Trump of “giving billionaires and corporations a massive tax cut” while bringing a piece of legislation that may put the American people through the pain of massive healthcare costs, unlimited bills and insurers’ rejections after they lose their insurance cover under Obamacare, Obama appeals to the Americans to call Congress members and visit their offices and speak out their minds to let America know “in very real terms, what this means for them and their family” because what is at stake here is bigger than politics. It is the character of the nation – “who we are, and who we aspire to be and that’s always worth fighting for,” Obama writes.



The article originally appeared on India Today.

Kenneth Juster, who’s set to be the next US Ambassador to New Delhi, is an experienced India hand.

Juster has been a pro-India voice ever since he was an Under-secretary in the US Department of Commerce in the George W Bush administration. The US-India Business Council awarded him with the Blackwill Award in 2004 for his contributions to India-US relations.

The Washington Post, which first broke the news, described Kenneth as a “consensus pick” and a “top-notch India expert”.

“Senior Trump Administration officials say his impending appointment to represent Washington in New Delhi is a consensus pick that places a top notch India expert in a crucial diplomatic post and he is currently going through a new round of clearances before his appointment can be officially announced,” the Post report said.

Juster has admired India’s technical competence, especially in life sciences and engineering, and founded and chaired the High Technology Cooperation Group (HTCG) in 2002 to broad-base trade of dual-use goods and bilateral high-technology commerce.

In his various responsibilities, he has overseen trade dealing with export of sensitive goods and technologies to other countries. He has also been actively involved in policymaking on China, Japan, Israel, the Persian Gulf and Latin America.

A trustee of The Asia Foundation, a non-profit development organization, and member of the Council for Foreign Relations, a strategic think-tank of global influence, Juster is currently Donald Trump’s Deputy Assistant for International Economic Affairs. He’s also Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, and has been the first contact point for senior Indian officials for access to the Donald Trump administration.

According to Bloomberg, Juster has over 30 years of experience as a lawyer and senior business executive. He completed his law education at Harvard Law School. He went on to earn a Master’s degree in Public Policy from the John F Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Kenneth Juster will replace Richard Verma, the first Indian-American to become the US Ambassador to India. Verma was appointed by Donald Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, and resigned as Donald Trump took over the US presidency.