The passage of the Affordable Care Act, which if fully implemented promises to insure most Americans, represents the single biggest legislative feat of Obama’s presidency so far. Both Democratic and Republican presidents had for decades attempted and failed to expand health-care coverage to near-universal levels.
Despite controversies around how it was passed and its overall unpopularity in polls, there are many popular elements: the provision that allows adult children up to age 26 to be insured on their parents’ plan; the ban on exclusion from coverage of people with preexisting conditions; the elimination of annual and lifetime caps on coverage; the closing of the payment loophole for seniors receiving prescription-drug coverage under Medicare.
With large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress for the first two years of Obama’s presidency, failure to pass health-care reform would have made Obama look inept. Instead, Obama stuck with his effort at comprehensive reform, against the advice of some of his top strategists, who recommended he scale back his goals, and on March 23, 2010, he signed the bill into law.