Bill Clinton's Obamacare treatment
August 28th, 2013
09:43 AM ET
1 year ago

Bill Clinton's Obamacare treatment

Updated at 11:07 a.m. ET on 8/28

(CNN) – As the clock ticks down to key elements of President Barack Obama's health care law taking effect, former President Bill Clinton will provide a defense of the controversial measure in a speech next week at his presidential library in Arkansas.

The announcement of Clinton's address comes on the same day a new national poll indicates that half the public remains in the dark about the Affordable Care Act.

The September 4 remarks will center on the "critical role a high quality, affordable and accessible health care system plays in the United States and any country's economic and social well being," according to a release from Clinton's charitable foundation.

Enrollment in the health care exchanges that form the core of the Affordable Care Act begin October 1, and members of Obama's administration have been hurriedly pitching the marketplaces to healthy young people, whose participation is necessary for rates to remain low.

On Twitter, Obama's senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer suggested Clinton's speech would help Americans better understand the health care law.

That brings back memories of Clinton's speech on behalf of the president at last summer's Democratic convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, when the former president defended the current president's record and polices on the economy. At the time, Obama joked that Clinton needed to be made "secretary of explaining stuff."

A survey from the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation, which frequently conducts polling on the health care law, points toward a need for more explaining about the measure.

Fifty-one percent of Americans questioned in the survey, which was released Wednesday, say they don't have enough information about the law "to understand how it will impact them and their family." That number has been pretty consistent in Kaiser polling since the law was passed in 2010.

The poll indicates the percentage who feel they don't have enough information about the law stands at 64% among Hispanics, 62% among those without insurance and among adults under age 25, and 60% among low income families.

The survey also points to confusion over the health care law's status, with 44% believing either the measure has been repealed (8%), overturned by the Supreme Court (5%), or unsure whether it still remains a law (31%). None of those things have happened.

The poll's release, which comes as two separate tours dedicated to defunding the nation's health care law continue to crisscross the country, also indicates that more than half the public opposes cutting off funding for the measure. Fifty-seven percent of those questioned say they don't support defunding the law, with 36% saying they favor such a move.

The poll indicates that nearly seven in ten are against defunding the measure, commonly referred to as Obamacare, because "the appropriate way to stop a law is to repeal it, or not to pass it in the first place." And 56% say that "without funding, the law will be crippled and won't work as planned, which is not good for its supporters or opponents."

Some conservative lawmakers, including Senators Ted Cruz of Texas, Marco Rubio of Florida and Mike Lee of Utah, are using upcoming budget battles as leverage, vowing to oppose any measure that provides funding for the federal government that includes funding for the health care law. The measure funding the federal government expires September 30, setting up another Capitol Hill budget battle between congressional Republicans and the White House.

But so far only slightly more than a dozen fellow Republican senators have signed up to support the cause, leaving it up to outside conservative groups to rally the base.

In an interview with CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that ran Sunday on "State of the Union," Cruz conceded that "we do not have the votes right now," noting that to succeed, he'd need 41 senators or 218 representatives to get behind his legislation - which would provide a year of funding for the federal government, minus Obamacare.

But the Texas Republican argued a coming "grass-roots tsunami" would bring over fellow conservatives to his side in the next month.

To help in that cause, two conservative groups, the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica, this week launched a tour to pressure Republican members of Congress to join the push to defund the health care law. And Heritage Action, which is a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, one of the oldest and largest conservative think tanks, is in the second week of a nine-stop "Defund Obamacare Tour" of townhalls.


Filed under: Bill Clinton • Health care
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    I'm a nurse, but I'm quite aware of the billing practices in the medical field. Private insurers handle all the claim payment & administration for the government (Medicare / Medicaid) plans already... one can make an informed assumption that they are going to implement something similar for the ACA...
    --------
    Well, if that's the case, then those "government run death panels" don't exist and never will. They're going to be run the same way that they've always been run, by private industry looking to make the most profit.
    --------
    Please, Rudy... I said claim payment & administration. What you refer to with respect to "government run death panels" has nothing to do with claim payment & adminstration. Rather, it has EVERYTHING to do with the review of appropriate course of treatment for a given patient for a given condition. For government sponsored plans, that is NOT done by the insurance company... it's done by the review board(s) at the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS).

    August 28, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. truth hurts but reality bites

    Obamacare is nothing less than a poison pill to our healthcare system. It was designed to be a train wreck that would destroy the current system so that people would then scream for the government to step in and take it over. It is a huge new government entitlement program to get 30 million people on the government healthcare dole. It will drastically lower the quality of healthcare in this country. Just remember America, the Democrats did this to your healthcare system. Remember well in 2014 and 2016.

    August 28, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. emskadittle

    sweet, moderateish republicans being forced to the far right, will end republican chances in 2015

    August 28, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    Naturally, Rudy Einstein feels it necessary to chime in on something he has absolutely NO knowledge of whatsoever. Unreimbursed care does indeed contribute to higher fees... but nowhere near the amount as cost shifting. Not even close. Malpractice insurance is also a factor, true...

    "Please, Rudy... I said claim payment & administration. What you refer to with respect to "government run death panels" has nothing to do with claim payment & adminstration."
    -------------–
    Thanks for giving us a glimpse of the truth. But, you are still falsely blaming *all* cost shifting onto Medicare. You also made the patently false claim that if a doctor accepted only Medicare patients he wouldn't make a profit. Sure he would because he would paid for services rendered, and a few more that he claimed were rendered. Get real.

    True, you have not mentioned death panels today. But, you've worn the topic out over the past couple of weeks.

    August 28, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. TONE

    @Lavonna
    are you living in the backwoods of this country don't you understand that keeping the status co would bankrupt this country , i have private insurance, and my premuims are going up because of people like you who just go to the emergency room when they are sick with no way to pay for the services rendered then my premium go up because i have to pick up the tab.

    August 28, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. Ray E (Georgia)

    Well, Well, Well,
    Now I know who is using my name in vein. The Real Tom (Phony) Paine. Ya know Tom, Bill Clinton is as phony as a 3 dollar bill. Barrack Obama is as phony as a 3 dollar bill, and you Tom, well if the shoe fits wear it. You don't like the cold hard facts of life. Either learn, or perish. The Liberal's want to do great things, the only problem is they want to do it with someone elses money. The last big liberal plan was the housing mess. you know what happened. So, tom, any more bright ideas?

    August 28, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. acepaul

    Keep trying to pull the wool over our eyes, it wont work. That poll about half in the dark is ridiculous. The majority of Americans KNOW that the law is a disaster.

    August 28, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. PtBarnumBoy

    No sense in trying to explain this to people because they either just don't care, just don't know, or just haven't yet been presented with one of those quarter million dollar hospital bills that are lurking about in the shadows for all of us. The GOP has no alternative but the status quo and it has already failed.

    August 28, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. Fair is Fair

    @ Rudy –

    Don't go thinking readers & commenters arent on to you cherrypicking words out of my (and others') comments to fit your narrative.... mmmmkay? You make yourself look petty at best, and foolish not too far behind.

    August 28, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Racemunki

    The question that everyone keeps asking is, "Do the Republicans have a better solution to implement"? Answer is still, NO!

    August 28, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  11. Fair is Fair

    @ Ray E –

    My name was hijacked as well. I think it was done by a basement boy. I doubt seriously it was Tom Paine. Tom's opinions are definitely left of center, but he stands behind his beliefs and his convictions and adds value to the debate. Whomever hijacked our names is nothing but a coward who cannot depend on his or her own intellect to debate.

    August 28, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    -Ray E (Georgia)

    Well, Well, Well,
    Now I know who is using my name in vein. The Real Tom (Phony) Paine. Ya know Tom, Bill Clinton is as phony as a 3 dollar bill. Barrack Obama is as phony as a 3 dollar bill, and you Tom, well if the shoe fits wear it. You don't like the cold hard facts of life. Either learn, or perish. The Liberal's want to do great things, the only problem is they want to do it with someone elses money. The last big liberal plan was the housing mess. you know what happened. So, tom, any more bright ideas?
    ***************
    You actually think I would bother to put your name up, Hector Slagg? Please. Amazing how you ignore basic history and try to rewrite it to suit yourself and whatever fantasy world you live in, but hey, if it helps you to sleep at night thinking that Liberals are to blame for everything wrong with your life, so be it. Apparently, to admit your ideological House of Cards is a joke would require both effort, thought and humility, concepts that you clearly have no experience with. I watched you be an apologist for Todd Akin last year, as well as the rest of the clown car of candidates that offered nothing in terms of solutions, but plenty of finger-pointing. I can see why you would defend them so vigorously, since you clearly have nothing worthwhile to offer in terms of observations beyond the predictable, intellectual Pez-dispenser trash you put out. Nice try, junior.

    August 28, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Ray E (Georgia) wrote:

    ... ... The Liberal's want to do great things, the only problem is they want to do it with someone elses money. The last big liberal plan was the housing mess. ... ...
    --------------------
    The housing mess was a Republican plan, specifically George W. Bush's "American Dream Downpayment Act." Google it. Passed in 2004 by a Republican Congress, and signed into law by a Republican President, it handed out up to $100 million dollars annually in the form of $10,000 grants to first time home buyers to assist them with coming up with down payments. The law also called for banks to write simpler mortgage agreements with less legalese.

    Banks took advantage of these people and began writing the predatory mortgages that featured those monthly payments that ballooned after the first few years. In fact, banks began using similar languages on all of the mortgages so as not to appear discriminatory.

    August 28, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Clarke

    For all the people against Obamacare, please explain the law to me, so I can also understand it. How many out there under the insurance they today? I would bet not many, but you are all able to speak on something, that you don't know how it works. Amazing!

    August 28, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  15. Data Driven

    Thanks to Fair is Fair, Rudy, Real Truth, Tom Paine and others who are contributing intelligently to this thread with only a minimum - :P - of name-calling. I realize that this site isn't really designed for debating issues rather than personalities, but I'm glad we're doing it anyway. It's a very important topic too complicated for blithe soundbites. No wonder the Administration has had a difficult time selling the law. No wonder so many are misinformed about it, too. If nothing else, I hope those who read the smarter comments here stop confusing Obamacare with "Hitler".

    Much respect for the nursing work you do, Fair. Still think you're overstating cost-shifting (I'm looking this stuff up tonight in depth to get a stronger handle on this aspect), but, respect.

    August 28, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. Dan

    @TONE Your premiums were skyrocketing prior to Obamacare. Hence the reason change was needed. Change does costs money, changing it again will cost more money, you don't have a solution only upset that your party didn't win the battle on Obamacare. Long term this will balance itself out. Half of the problem is people don't have health care, they ignore issues, when they need to do something about it, they find out it is going to cost a lot of money, can't afford it and we pay the bill anyways. Wouldn't you rather pay into preventative care than responsive care? Ever since Obama has been in office our countries problem has been GoP doing nothing to say that nothing happens when President Obama is in office, defunding Obamacare is only going to hurt the country on purpose to try and say it didn't work by intentionally making the system not work.

    August 28, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. jim

    I still haven't heard any other options beside repeal it. This was the same plan the other side was pushing years back. I'm not for it or against it. I think we can use this as a staring point and make it better from there.

    August 28, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    Thank you, Fair, for the good word. I appreciate your integrity. As far as Ray is concerned, he/she/it has a long way to go before being taken as a serious voice.

    August 28, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. pchelp, Juneau, AK

    There are plenty of 'explanations' of the law, the problem is that we, the average person, can't tell which ones are trustworthy. First, they contradict each other. Second, they all come from politicians or political organizations (including many who lie about being political). Since I can't think of anybody we can trust to really explain it all we can do is wait & see how it works out. I think it'll work out fine-but a lot depends on how the rich react. Will they sabotage the greatest nation in the world for the sake of keeping the little guy down? Only time will tell about that.

    August 28, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. jim

    Obamacare might not be the answer, but neither is system we have now.

    August 28, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    @ Rudy – Don't go thinking readers & commenters arent on to you cherrypicking words out of my (and others') comments to fit your narrative.... mmmmkay? You make yourself look petty at best, and foolish not too far behind.

    " In fact, if a provider were to service patients ONLY from government sponsored plans, they wouldn't be able to afford to keep their doors open."
    ---------------
    Sorry for making you eat your own words. Your entire argument was based upon a false assumption. There, I've posted it again for you. Everythinhg else that you argued sprang from that first line of argument. That's not cherry picking. It's called simply picking your argument to pieces. It would be different if I misquoted you, but those are your own words.

    "Nice try, but we gotcha once again."

    August 28, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  22. Nodack

    "Fifty-one percent of Americans questioned in the survey, which was released Wednesday, say they don't have enough information about the law "to understand how it will impact them and their family." That number has been pretty consistent in Kaiser polling since the law was passed in 2010."

    With one side constantly bombarding the airwaves with anti Obamacare propaganda is no wonder people are confused.

    "Health care for all Americans is unconstitutional and Socialism!"

    August 28, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. TONE

    @DAN
    I am for the ACA i am sorry if you misunderstood me and thankyou for the corrections i prior to Obamacare

    August 28, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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