Obama's White House Photographer Responds To Health Care Decision With Poignant Image

It comes with a moving story.

On Thursday, House Republicans voted to pass a bill that would repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), likely causing millions to lose health insurance and removing protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. The bill now moves to the Senate.

According to Mashable, hours before the House decision, Pete Souza, former President Barack Obama's White House photographer, shared a moving image on his Instagram account. The photograph and the story behind it serve as a reminder of how much progress could be lost if this new bill becomes law.

The photo depicts President Obama checking text messages in the Treaty Room in the White House's private residence on March 22, 2010, at 12:09 a.m., 80 minutes after Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. "Someone had sent a message that ended with 'your mother would be so proud,'" Souza writes in the caption.


The photographer goes on to explain, "His mother had died from ovarian cancer. She had spent her last days worrying whether insurance was going to cover some of the medical expenses because they might consider her cancer a pre-existing condition."

It's a powerful memory of one of the defining moments of Obama's presidency, at the same time highlighting the personal meaning the ACA held for him. 

Souza continued the health care theme today, sharing a 2013 image of Obama recognizing Natoma Canfield, who "had written him a letter in 2009 urging him to fight for health care reform." He adds that Canfield "had been forced to drop her health care insurance after her premiums were jacked up in price when she had been diagnosed with cancer." After the passage of the ACA, Canfield was able to afford insurance again.

"I carried Natoma's story with me every day of the fight to pass this law," Souza quotes President Obama as saying at the time.

Photos such as these will hopefully inspire others to make their own voices heard on topics of health care and beyond.

Since President Obama left office in January, Souza has been sharing numerous photographs from his time in the White House, frequently timing them to contrast current President Donald Trump. In February, for example, he shared an image of Obama meeting with three top advisors, all of whom were women. It served as a powerful juxtaposition to images of President Trump surrounded by men as he signed a global gag rule to prevent U.S. funds from aiding overseas organizations that perform abortions.

Shortly before Obama left office, Souza posted a photo of the First Family on his (now archived) official account with the caption, "So proud of this family and how they have represented our country the past eight years. A great honor to have documented their lives for history."

And what an honor for us that we get to see it.


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.