“I used to sit there and watch him in the bed and in pain and dying of glioblastoma,” Mr. Biden said of his older son, who died in 2015. “And I thought to myself, what would happen if his insurance company was able to come in, which they could have done before we passed Obamacare, and said: ‘You’ve outrun your insurance. You’ve outlived it. Suffer the last five months of your life in peace. You’re on your own.’”
Health care was a central issue for Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, and they are emphasizing it again this election cycle, especially with the pandemic underscoring the importance of insurance coverage and care for the sick.
Mr. Trump came into office on a promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but he and Republicans in Congress failed in their efforts to undo the health law in 2017. Still, the Trump administration has repeatedly sought to undermine the law, and it is now asking the Supreme Court to overturn it.
“You and I both know what it’s like to have somebody you love get really sick, and in some cases to lose somebody,” Mr. Obama told Mr. Biden in their conversation. He called the Affordable Care Act a piece of “starter house” legislation, giving Mr. Biden room to tout his proposed public health insurance option that would build on Mr. Obama’s efforts.
“But that loss is compounded when you see the stress on their faces, because they’re worried that they’re being a burden on their families. They’re worried about whether the insurance is going to cover the treatments that they need.”
In another portion of the conversation, which was released on Wednesday, the two talked about their response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the current protests for racial equality. During Mr. Obama’s administration, some activists criticized the president for blocking efforts at systemic reform but there is large agreement he was more receptive than Mr. Trump.
Mr. Obama, the country’s first Black president, touted the police accountability measures implemented in his administration, including tasking the Justice Department with police oversight. He cited some instances of overt racism that still persist, including job discrimination.