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President Barack Obama Speaks on Obamacare Challenge, Iraq, Soccer

by Erin McClam /  / Updated 

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President Barack Obama said Monday that the Supreme Court should reject a challenge that would cripple his health care program — and he ventured that the justices shouldn’t have taken it up in the first place.

The court is expected to rule later this month on the challenge, which argues that people who buy insurance through the federal health care exchange, rather than state exchanges, should not receive subsidies.

Even if the technical language of the law could have been clearer, well-established legal precedent holds that the courts should follow the intent of Congress, he said — and Congress clearly meant for the federal exchange to be subsidized, too.

“So this should be an easy case,” he said. “Frankly, it probably shouldn’t even have been taken up.”

“What’s more, the thing’s working!” Obama said. “Part of what’s bizarre about this is we haven’t had a conversation about the horrors of Obamacare because none of them have come to pass.”

Obama spoke at the conclusion of the G-7 summit in Germany.

On other matters, the president:

— Said that the United States and other countries are prepared to do more to train Iraqi security forces to battle ISIS — as long as the Iraqis are taking advantage of the help.

He said the United States is “reviewing a range of plans” to help Iraq after ISIS militants last month captured the city of Ramadi in a humiliating defeat for the Iraqis.

“We don’t yet have a complete strategy,” he said, “because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well. About how recruitment takes place, how that training takes place. So the details of that are not yet worked out.”

— Said that the United States and other countries want to make sure world soccer is “conducted in an upright manner.”

Obama would not comment specifically on the American corruption indictment of FIFA executives, which helped force the resignation of Sepp Blatter, the most powerful man in soccer.

But he said that soccer is “a massive business, it is a source of incredible national pride, and people want to make sure that it operates with integrity.”

— Pledged that the United States and European countries will keep up the pressure on Russia for its aggression in Ukraine.

He said that the Russian economy has been “seriously weakened” by economic sanctions. “Russia’s actions in Ukraine are hurting Russia and hurting the Russian people,” he said.

— Said that the United States is not ready to say publicly who may have launched a massive cyberattack on the federal government. Suspicion has fallen on China.

Obama said: “This problem is not going to go away. It’s going to accelerate. We have to be as nimble as aggressive and as well-resourced as those who are trying to break into these systems.”

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