Former President Clinton took America by the hand today, and walked it through the fog of lies and misrepresentations that Republicans have created around Obamacare.
President Clinton started out by saying that he wrote his whole speech out, and he was going to try to explain this as best he can. Clinton said that he was surprised by continued level of misunderstanding about the healthcare law. President Clinton explained that the ACA was designed to address healthcare costs and access. Before the bill passed only 84% of people had coverage and we were spending 17.9% of GDP. Clinton explained that the difference between what the US was spending and other countries that have universal care was $1 trillion a year.
Clinton said that in 80% of our states one or two companies dominate the marketplace, so there is no competition. Clinton said the law has attracted a lot of opposition. From the left because of no public option and from the right because of government intrusion. Former President Clinton talked about Republican fearmongering about increased costs and people losing their insurance. He discussed the Republican states’ refusal to participate. President Clinton said by not cooperating people in Republican states will be paying for the law, but the benefits will be going to people in other states. Clinton reminded Republicans that the ACA is the law.
Former President Clinton laid out how the ACA is already benefiting America including the fact that children with conditions are now covered, pregnant women can get prenatal care, 12 million people have gotten insurance rebate checks.
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Clinton is really breaking out the wonk and the numbers today.
Bill Clinton was very honest in discussing the three main problems that he saw with the law. He said what bothered him most is that workers with modest incomes who are insured only by their employers are required by law to provide insurance for the families. Clinton said it is not fair, it is bad policy, but it wasn’t intentional. He called on Congress to fix it. Clinton also said that he thinks the current tax credit for small businesses is too low. He thought that the congress should make the tax credit more available to more firms, more employees, and make it more generous. The third problem that Clinton has was with the Supreme Court’s decision on states having the right to turn down the Medicaid expansion.
In the states that rejected the money, working people at 100% of the poverty line are eligible for nothing. Clinton projected that there will be a big jump in untreated care, while their taxpayers’ money will be spent in other states. Because of the SCOTUS decision, only the states can fix the problem.
The former president said the assumption that young people don’t buy insurance because they don’t need it isn’t backed up by the facts. Clinton said that buying a plan is the right and smart thing for young people to do. Clinton dispelled the idea that there will be massive computer glitches in the signup process.
Clinton shot down the idea that employers are cutting full time workers, “Since 2010 since the law passed 90% of employment gains have been full time jobs.”
Bill Clinton said, “We will do better working together than by rooting for reform to fail.” The former president concluded by pointing out that the health of our people, our families and our economic security are all riding on healthcare reform.
The most powerful part of the president’s speech was the fact that taxpayers in states where Republicans have decided to turn down setting up their own exchanges and expanding Medicaid are going to be see their tax dollars going to other states who are fully participating in Obamacare. His message was that Republican leaders are screwing over their own people by refusing to fully participate in the ACA.
Clinton’s speech was strong and policy oriented, but I would love to see the former president give this same talk in front of regular Americans without the written text.
The ACA battle cry in 2014 should be that Republicans are hurting over their own people by refusing to support Obamacare. The question that voters in states like Pennsylvania need to ask themselves is why are our tax dollars being spent in other states, because our governor thinks it is good politics to say no to Obama?
Clinton’s message should scare every Republican governor and legislature that is obstructing Obamacare. If taxpayers in states where Republicans are blocking ACA participation ever catch on to how badly they are being screwed, the political fallout will be enormous.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association