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Obama says it’s ‘frustrating’ to keep fighting GOP efforts to repeal his health law

Former president Barack Obama. Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Former president Barack Obama said Wednesday that multiple GOP efforts to repeal his signature health care law have been “frustrating.”

Obama spoke to a group of young activists at an event held by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

“When I see people trying to undo that hard-won progress, for the 50th or 60th time, with bills that will raise costs, reduce coverage, or roll back protections for older Americans or people with pre-existing conditions — the cancer survivor, the expecting mom, the child with autism or asthma, for whom coverage will be almost unattainable, it is aggravating,” Obama said.

“It’s certainly frustrating to have to mobilize every couple months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents,” Obama said of the several repeal bills that have come up and failed in Congress since President Trump took office.


He said that efforts done without any “plain common sense rationale” were especially frustrating.

But Obama said that setbacks are part of progress and that young liberals should continue to fight.

Republicans have passed an Obamacare repeal bill in the House but have so far failed to do so in the Senate. A last-ditch effort to replace Obamacare with block grants to the states, led by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy, could come up for a vote as soon as next week.

The former president was the keynote speaker at the New York event dedicated to “accelerating world progress.”

Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.