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Barack Obama jokingly refers to Joe Biden as ‘vice-president’ at White House

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The current US president was Mr Obama’s deputy for his eight years in the Oval Office between 2009 and 2017.

Mr Obama joined Mr Biden at the White House on Tuesday as he signed an executive order to strengthen the Affordable Care Act- the flagship health care law brought in 12 years ago known as “Obamacare”.

“It’s good to be back in the White House. It’s been awhile,” Mr Obama said in a speech after Vice President Kamala Harris introduced him in the East Room.

Mr Obama opened by referring to Mr Biden as “vice president” before acknowledging that was a “set up” joke and embracing his former No 2 – who he then called “My president”.

Mr Obama said he and Mr Biden accomplished “a lot” in their eight years but “nothing made me prouder than providing better health care and more protections to millions of people across this country.”

AFP via Getty Images

Millions of Americans have benefitted by receiving insurance coverage through the ACA. Many of these people were unemployed or had low-paying jobs. Some couldn’t work because of a disability or family obligations. Others couldn’t get decent health insurance because of a preexisting medical condition, such as a chronic disease.

“The ACA was an example of why you run for office in the first place,” Obama said, calling it the “high point of my time here.”

The strengthening of the seeks to address a longstanding problem with Obamacare’s regulations pertaining to the affordability of employer coverage, known as the “family glitch.”

People tripped up by the “family glitch” are dependents of workers who have an offer of employer coverage that the government interprets as being affordable. As a rule, people with affordable employer coverage are not eligible for taxpayer-subsidized ACA plans.

But the issue with the current interpretation is that affordability is determined by the cost for employee-only coverage, and not more expensive family policies. Workers able to afford their own share may not be able to cover premiums for the entire family. So the family is cut out of ACA coverage.

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