Obama Is First Active President To Publish Academic Paper


President Barack Obama has become the first sitting U.S. president to publish an article in a scholarly journal. The article outlines what he believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has accomplished and how it can be improved.

Published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on July 11, Obama’s article is titled “United States Health Care Reform: Progress to Date and Next Steps.”

The achievement prompted social media to buzz with tongue-in-cheek accolades for the president, according to Business Insider.

“A gentleman and a scholar,” tweeted out one user, who then added the trending hashtag “#Obamajama.”

“Obama has an article in a peer-reviewed journal,” tweeted out another user. “Wonder what he’ll do when not ‘tied up’ being prez… #OBAMAJAMA.”

Obama’s article was not peer-reviewed by JAMA; instead, it underwent two revisions and editing by a group of the scholarly journal’s senior editors over the course of two months. The piece was fact-checked extensively.

“While we of course recognized that author is the president of the United States, JAMA has enormously high standards and we certainly expected the president to meet those standards,” JAMA’s editor-in-chief, Howard Bauchner, told Bloomberg Politics.

In addition to Obama’s article on the ACA, JAMA included four additional editorials discussing the ACA, including a critical piece by former official Stuart Butler of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

In his article, Obama wrote why he believes that ACA has been working.

“Since the ACA became law, the uninsured rate has declined by 43% from 16.0% in 2010 to 9.1 percent in 2015,” Obama wrote.

The president added that the ACA was still incomplete, noting, “Despite this progress, too many Americans still strain to pay for the physician visit and prescriptions, cover their deductibles, or pay their monthly insurance bills … and remain uninsured.”

Obama outlined four core proposals to improve the ACA. The first would be to expand Medicaid and tweak delivery systems. The second would increase financial assistance to make plans more affordable.

The third proposal called for a public option being offered to Americans who live in regions where there is little competition in health providers. Lastly, Obama called for lowering the price of drugs by increasing rebates and allowing the government to directly negotiate prices with the pharmaceutical companies.

The president credited White House staffers Matthew Fiedler and Jeanne Lambrew for helping him research and write the article, according to Politico.

Those given special thanks for reviewing the piece were Kristie Canegallo, Katie Hill, Cody Keenan, Jesse Lee and Shailagh Murray.

Sources: Bloomberg PoliticsBusiness Insider, Politico / Photo credit: Official U.S. Navy Page/Flickr

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