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Barack Obama

Obama called GOP efforts to repeal and replace his health care law 'aggravating'


Updated September 20, 2017 12:59 PM EDT

Former President Obama speaks at a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event.

Updated September 20, 2017 01:25 PM EDT

Former President Obama on Wednesday called Republican efforts in Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare "aggravating."

"The legislation that we passed was full of things that still need to be fixed," he said in New York City. "It wasn't perfect. But it was better."

"When I see people trying to undo that hard-won progress for the 50th or 60th time... it is aggravating," Obama continued at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event. "And all of this being done without any demonstrable economic or actuarial or common sense rationale, it frustrates."

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Obama also seemingly criticized President Trump's climate change policies, quipping "the federal government is not as engaged in these matters as I'd like."

"It's a threat that may define the contours of this century more than anything else," he said.

Obama warned against succumbing to complacency on issues like health care or climate change, arguing that everyday citizens should push for progress when confronted with such challenges.

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"On every issue we have to stand up for each other and recognize progress is not inevitable," he said. "It's in need of constant renewal. Typically that's how progress is won and maintained."

"Growing economic inequality, climate change. terrorism, growing mass migration, the rise of nationalism and xenophobia and a politics that says it's not us but we and them," Obama continued.

"These are real challenges and we aren't going to sugarcoat them. Rather than being daunted by these challenges, they should excite us and inspire us. We have to reject the notion that we are suddenly grasped by forces we can't control."

Obama also admitted some critics saw it is a "sign of weakness" he does not always believe the U.S. can unilaterally solve problems on its own.

"Let first say of all say that of the biggest problems we confront, no one nation is going to be able to solve them all on its own," he said. "Not even a nation as powerful as the United States of America."

"I take great pride in what the United States can do, but if we're talking about climate change or global migration spurred on by drought or famine or ethnic conflicts, we're not going to be able to solve those things by ourselves."

Former President Obama on Wednesday will speak about the progress of global health at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeepers event in New York City, according to PBS News.

PBS reported that the event is timed to coincide with both the release of a report by Bill and Melinda Gates and the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly elsewhere in the city.

Bill and Melinda Gates will also speak at the event, while their report measures worldwide health by 18 indicators including infant mortality, smoking rates, vaccine usage and the prevalence of AIDs.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, singer Will.I.Am, Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai and British actor Stephen Fry are some of the other scheduled speakers.

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