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The survey also points to confusion over the health care law's status, with 44% believing either the measure has been repealed (8%), overturned by the Supreme Court (5%), or unsure whether it still remains a law (31%).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. LaVonna

    Obamacare should be defunded. We had the best health care in the world with the system we had. We the people do not want government ran health care.

    August 28, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    You want to know what the right wing's real objection is to the ACA? Just look at the main differences between what came out of the Heritage Foundation and what is in the ACA. The ACA adds a set of patients' rights, and it places mandates on the health insurers.

    Insurers find the patients' rights far easier to swallow than the mandates placed on themselves, particularly the part about placing a cap on their profits. There's something sinful and obscene connected to getting rich off of selling health insurance. Everyone needs health insurance at some point in their lives, usually multiple times. Price gouging the price of health insurance demonstrates greed without boundaries.

    August 28, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Rick McDaniel

    Clinton is too big a liar to listen to, about much of anything.

    August 28, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Hector Slagg

    WOW,
    Bill Clinton speak again? The Bill Clinton that said, WE COULD LET YOU KEEP MORE OF YOUR MONEY, BUT YOU WOULDN'T KNOW HOW TO SPEND IT. That Bill Clinton? Well he would know. Who has any money to spend anyway. Have you looked at advertiziments for new Cars. They can't give them away, nobody has any money! The people put the liberal's in charge of the government. Real intellegent. Selling Obama Care? Beware of Liberal's bearing gifts. And please Liberal's, DON'T DO ME ANY MORE FAVORS, I CAN'T AFFORD 'EM.

    August 28, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    We the people do not want government ran health care.
    -----------------------------------------
    Then tell your grandparents to turn over their Medicare card.

    August 28, 2013 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. RIchard Long

    I would be more convinced if he said, "Obamacare is so good, Hillary, Chelsea and I are going to be first in line to sign up on the exchange on October 1st. I'll have the video on YouTube and you'll be hit on Twitter as soon as my application says complete."
    Like that is ever going to happen, but, "what matter does it make?"

    August 28, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  7. Anonymous

    Well, i prefer learning about something from someone who has firsthand knowledge and experience. Working for the government, health insurance is usually a given for "career" or full time employees with TriCare, or you maybe remember Champus. Idealistically, this will work, then again, so does communism, fascism, Stalin-ism, and world peace. Only thing I can see affecting them from being ideal, is the human factor; whether it is corruption, apathy, or ignorance.

    August 28, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. sonny chapman

    Some folks may come around to accepting Near Universal Health Coverage after the "Explainer In Chief" speaks. Some are too blinded by fear & hate to allow any information penetrate their brains or hearts.

    August 28, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  9. ProudDem

    I find it interesting that the only people screaming to kill a program that will provide healthcare for 10s of millions of people who dont have it an desperately need it are the people that already have healthcare. The far right won't be happy until we're all living in a Charles Dickens novel.

    August 28, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  10. Randy

    I had good affordable health care...this year it went up in price and the out of pocket costs went up. Instead of paying for a co-pay and then getting coverage...i have to spend $1700 with no co pay before I am covered...meaning the first couple of visits are all out of pocket. Thank you ACA.

    August 28, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Data Driven

    @LaVonna,

    Obamacare is health INSURANCE, not health CARE.

    Any other conservatives confused about what we're talking about here? We'll be glad to explain it to you.

    August 28, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Anonymous

    Then tell your grandparents to turn over their Medicare card.

    Touche.

    Obamacare is health INSURANCE, not health CARE.

    Snap.

    August 28, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  13. Data Driven

    @Richard Long,

    Like LaVonna, you appear to not know what we're talking about. Obamacare is designed to get folks on health insurance who currently can't afford it. Obamacare doesn't "replace" private insurance (more's the pity!); it augments private health insurance by getting more people on it. And if your state is properly implementing Obamacare, you'll see your premiums reduce because more people will have health insurance, thus spreading out the financial risk for the insurance companies.

    The Clintons, and presumably you, already have health insurance. The Clintons, being quite wealthy, will keep what they have, doubtless because they're satisfied with what they have. Though you're probably less wealthy, you'll do the same. Talk to your governor to get him to implement Obamacare and save money on reduced premiums.

    August 28, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Data Driven

    @LaVonna,

    Obamacare is health INSURANCE, not health CARE.

    Any other conservatives confused about what we're talking about here? We'll be glad to explain it to you.
    -----------
    Ahhhhh, Data... Obamacare is indeed health insurance... and so much more. Price-fixing, for one. Any other liberal confused about what we're talking about here? We'll be glad to explain it to you.

    August 28, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  15. wendel

    the right is more afraid that people will like the new health care plans thus rendering them helpless to use it as a tool against the left. Sad day when the people of this country don't come first. Most repos are totally wrong about what the affordable care act does. To much fox news and listening to the repo trolls.

    August 28, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  16. Gunderson

    Scammer's already out in force. They look at Obama Care as jucy plum to be picked clean. The money needed to police the system will cost more than the program. not to mention the IRS Employees that are going to "Enforce" the system. Can anyone say Gestapo? You voted for it. right?

    August 28, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Arun

    Hey LaVonna, you are wrong. We don't have the best healthcare in the world, we have the most expensive!!

    August 28, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. ThinkAgain

    @LaVonna: "Obamacare should be defunded. We had the best health care in the world with the system we had. We the people do not want government ran health care."

    No, we didn't. The World Health Report 2000, "Health Systems: Improving Performance," ranked the U.S. health care system 37th in the world.

    Several recent studies have also proven that higher cost does NOT equal better quality. Obamacare addresses this by making the delivery of healthcare more patient-centered (i.e., insurance companies now have to compete for customers and will be motivated to offer better quality at affordable prices).

    If you'd turn off Fox and the RWNJ talking heads on the radio, you'd soon understand this.

    August 28, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Fair is Fair

    Did Bubba enroll for Obamacare?

    August 28, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    @Fair is Fair: "Ahhhhh, Data... Obamacare is indeed health insurance... and so much more. Price-fixing, for one. "

    No, it's not about price-fixing. (BTW, that's what insurance companies had been doing, when they set prices for what they'll reimburse for procedures, along with denying care for whatever reason they chose).

    Because of Obamacare, Healthcare consumers will finally be able to compare prices and quality for the services they pay form, which very directly benefits them.

    And who's leading the charge on all this? HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES. They WANT consumers to find the best value, because in the end it SAVES the insurance company money.

    August 28, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    @Randy: And previous to this your insurance NEVER went up? BTW, Obamacare didn't tell your insurance company to raise its rates: It did that all on its own.

    On the bright side, with Obamacare, you can now shop for the insurance you want, giving you the power of choice, instead of just taking whatever you're given.

    August 28, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. Data Driven

    @Fair,

    "price-fixing"

    Okay, I'll submit to instruction. Explain this and educate some liberals here.

    August 28, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Pete

    @LaVonna,are you insane..The ACA bill is healthcare insurance not healthcare persay...Someday you'll go to a hospital,clinic and if you don't carry healthcare insurance you'll be turned away easy as that..It's coming to a point when deadbeats like you exploiting the system for free healthcare at mine,others expense causing our premiums to rise uncontrollably that has to stop..And the ACA bill will do that in insuring everyone with affordable insurance and don't claim you're healthy and don't need it because that's the time you will and wouldn't it be a shame if you reached a hospital,clinic and it either turned you down or was closed which has happened before and most likely will again if healthcare issues in insurance isn't addressed..Can't have some paying for the rest its got to stop!!

    August 28, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Randy wrote:

    I had good affordable health care...this year it went up in price and the out of pocket costs went up. Instead of paying for a co-pay and then getting coverage...i have to spend $1700 with no co pay before I am covered...meaning the first couple of visits are all out of pocket. Thank you ACA.
    -----------------------
    You're either lying or are being ripped off. First of all, your insurance changed because the health insurer saw an opportunity to use the excuse of restructuring your coverage to raise your rates. They didn't have to do that, but they will have the law to answer to next year when they have to report their profits and wind up giving you a refund.

    If you were told that you have to pay your first $1700 of costs, then you should check your policy's deductible. Most of the initial costs incurred should be covered, by as much as 80%, One plan (silver?) defined in the ACA limits the deductible to $1500. A checkup may cost $750, including some lab tests.

    Your insurer should pick the majority share of the cost of that visit and your out-of-pocket cost should be less than $100. Bear in mind, your annual deductibles are capped. This works out well for families with a few children, who each would need an annual checkup, and at least one more visit to a doctor for some acute condition like a cold or an ear ache. If you needed a minor hospital stay, (for a day, or a week, or a month), the most deductible you would pay would be capped at $1500.

    August 28, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  25. Anonymous

    The Government is like a big company as well. They are willing to take a bigger risk on the people then their private counterparts. But, when enough people "abuse" the system (and there always has been, is currently, and will), wont prices go up? I dont believe that it will be the same for too long. Maybe 5 years or so. It's just business, right?

    August 28, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
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