Challenges and SuccessesIn the second part of his term as president, Obama has faced a number of obstacles and scored some victories as well. He signed his health-care reform plan, known as the Affordable Care Act, into law in March 2010. Obama's plan is intended to strengthen consumers' rights and to provide affordable insurance coverage and greater access to medical care. His opponents, however, claim that "Obamacare," as they have called it, added new costs to the country's overblown budget and may violate the Constitution with its requirement for individuals to obtain insurance.
On the economic front, Obama has worked hard to steer the country through difficult financial times.
He signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 in effort to rein in government spending and prevent the government from defaulting on its financial obligations. The act also called for the creation of a bipartisan committee to seek solutions to the country's fiscal issues, but the group failed to reach any agreement on how to solve these problems.
Obama has also handled a number of military and security issues during his presidency. In 2011, he helped repeal the military policy known as "Don't Ask,
Don't Tell," which prevented openly gay troops from serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. He also gave the green light to a 2011 covert operation in Pakistan, which led to the killing of infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs.
Obama made headlines again in June 2012, when a mandate included in his Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (initiated in 2010) was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, thus allowing other important pieces of the law to stay intact. The law includes free health screenings for certain citizens, restrictions to stringent insurance company policies and permission for citizens under age 26 to be insured under parental plans, among several other provisions. In a 5-4 decision, the Court voted to uphold the mandate under which citizens are required to purchase health insurance or pay a tax—a main provision of Obama's health-care law—stating that while the mandate is unconstitutional, according to the Constitution's commerce clause, it falls within Congress' constitutional power to tax.
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