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Obama slams efforts to repeal healthcare law

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NEW YORK: Former US president Barack Obama on Wednesday questioned Republicans' latest effort to repeal his signature healthcare law, saying it would inflict "real human suffering" on Americans.

The remarks, during a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation event in New York City, were one of the few times that Mr Obama, a Democrat, has spoken publicly since he left office in January.

"It is aggravating... It's certainly frustrating to have to mobilise every couple of months to keep our leaders from inflicting real human suffering on our constituents," Mr Obama said of the Republican attempt to eliminate Obamacare.

But he said the healthcare fight was a good example of the way that advancement is often made: through fits and starts, with backward steps tempering every success.

The true test, he said, was in how people respond in times of difficulty, when their efforts to make the world better run into resistance.

"Your response has to be to reject cynicism and reject pessimism, and to push forward with a certain infectious and relentless optimism," Mr Obama said. 

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