Clinton Promotes ACA, Calls for Bipartisan Effort To Fix Glitches
In a wide-ranging speech on Wednesday in Little Rock, Ark., President Clinton promoted the Affordable Care Act and called on supporters and opponents to work together to improve the law, the Washington Post reports (Eilperin, Washington Post, 9/4).
ACA Has Benefits, but U.S. Can Do More
During remarks at the Clinton Presidential Library, Clinton expressed support for the ACA and outlined several of the law's existing benefits, including:
- The slowdown in health care inflation over the last few years;
- The decision by most businesses to continue offering full-time work amid concerns that the law's requirements would encourage companies to switch full-time employees to part-time workers; and
- A recent Commonwealth Fund study that found young, healthy individuals -- whose participation is integral to the law's success -- will likely sign up for coverage.
He added that the U.S. must do more to improve its health care system, noting that a country "that pioneered innovation in every other area of our national life" cannot continue to rank first among other nations "in the percentage of our income that we devote to health care costs, and rank no better than 25to 33 in the health care outcomes" (Reston, "Politics Now," Los Angeles Times, 9/4).
Law Has 'Glitches' That Can Be 'Fixed Quickly'
Clinton also addressed "glitches" in the ACA, but added that there is "no evidence to suggest that they won't be able to be fixed quickly." For example, he said an ACA provision that prevents low-income workers who have employer-sponsored coverage from receiving subsidies to help family members purchase insurance is a "bad policy" that needs to be resolved. He also called on expanding tax subsidies to help small businesses cover the cost of providing employee insurance. However, Clinton concluded that lawmakers "did a pretty good job" constructing the ACA if these few oversights were the only "unintended consequence[s] of the law" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/4).
Supporters, Opponents Should Work Together To Improve Law
Clinton also criticized continuing Republican efforts to overturn or hinder the ACA. "We're going to do better working together and learning together than we will trying over and over again to repeal the law, or rooting for reform to fail and refusing to fix relatively simply matters," he said (Rampton, Reuters, 9/4).
He added that the ACA is law and that lawmakers to "get one of these elected jobs" take an oath to try to "faithfully execute the law." Similarly, he criticized states that have rejected the ACA's Medicaid expansion, noting that those states' "taxpayers will pay for this and the money will go to somebody else, somewhere else."
"We'd all be better off making it work as well as possible, to identify the problems and to fix them, instead of replaying the same old battles," Clinton said ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/4).
McConnell Spokesperson Dismisses Speech
In response, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spokesperson Don Stewart said the ACA costs too much and has failed to work as intended.
Stewart said, "No amount of speeches can change the fact that employers are cutting hours, families are losing the plans they have and like and that premiums for many people are going up" (Reuters, 9/4).
1,000 Volunteers To Promote ACA This Weekend
In related news, Enroll America on Wednesday announced that it has enlisted the help of about 1,000 volunteers who will hold more than 200 events across the country this weekend to promote the ACA's insurance exchanges. The campaign -- which will work with other ACA supporters, including Planned Parenthood and MomsRising -- will focus on Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 9/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.