Many want us to scoff at the Affordable Care Act rollout and President Obama’s “bad year.” But Obama has reined in the health insurance industry, which can no longer bump young people off their parents’ policies at 18, reject people for pre-existing conditions, or impose arbitrary caps. Millions will have health insurance for the first time. He also expanded stem cell research, which is saving lives and will become a top achievement of the 21st century.
2013 saw a record high stock market, deficit reduction, and the best job growth since 2005. Last quarter, the economy grew more than 4 percent. These gains were possible because of what Obama did earlier: enacted the stimulus program, saved the auto industry, recapitalized banks, and enacted Wall Street reforms. He also kicked the banks out of the Federal Student Loan Program and increased Pell Grants.
He restored diplomacy as the first response of U.S. foreign policy. He is eliminating Syria’s poison gas stockpile without resorting to war, and has opened negotiations with Iran. Earlier he’d ended the war in Iraq, eliminated Osama bin Laden, toppled Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, began the drawdown from Afghanistan, and achieved a new START Treaty on nuclear arms.