Obama Just Became The First Sitting President To Publish A Scientific Paper

President Obama with the 2010 Medal of Science recipients. His own contribution to science may not rank with their achievements, but he has written more scientific papers than all of his predecessors. Pete Souza/Public Domain

President Obama has achieved a first for a sitting president – he's published a paper in a leading peer-reviewed journal. The paper reviews the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, summarizes its effects, and considers what can be done in the future.

Being president doesn't usually leave a lot of time for other intellectual pursuits, and some recent occupants of the White House never seemed to have had much respect for science in the first place. Obama has always been different in that respect. John Holdren, Obama's science advisor, described how his boss enjoyed questioning scientists about their work more than his time with sports stars.

Now, Obama has joined the ranks of public health researchers as sole author of a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in which he reviews his most famous work, often known as Obamacare.

The paper includes a little on the history of the Act's passage, but the main focus is on how it has operated.

As this graph shows, Obamacare has achieved its primary goal, slashing the proportion of Americans without health insurance by almost half. “This is by far the largest decline in the uninsured rate since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 5 decades ago. Recent analyses have concluded these gains are primarily because of the ACA, rather than other factors such as the ongoing economic recovery,” Obama observes.

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