Orlando (CNN) – Hillary Clinton backed efforts to alter Obamacare on Wednesday, but also used her remarks to a health care group in Florida to offer a full defense of the sweeping and controversial law.
“I think we are on the right track in many respects but I would be the first to say if things aren’t working then we need people of good faith to come together and make evidence-based changes,” the former secretary of state and possible 2016 presidential candidate said.
In particular, Clinton pointed to issues with “small business of 50 or more” providing coverage to their employees, and businesses “moving people from full-time work to part-time work to try to avoid contributing to their health care” as issues that should be addressed.
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Clinton also singled out certain provisions of the health care law as successful. The former first lady said she supported children under 26 being able to remain on their parents’ health plans and that Obamacare allows more people access to preventive care.
“Part of the challenge is to clear away all the smoke and try to figure out what is working and what isn’t,” Clinton said. “What do we need to do to try to fix this? Because it would be a great tragedy, in my opinion, to take away what has now been provided.”
"This is going to be challenging and I don't think we should throw the baby out with the bath," Clinton said of reforms.
The former first lady added it has been hard to have a conversation in Washington about health care because of all the “misinformation.” She added that despite the vitriol on the Affordable Care Act, the law “doesn’t yet affect the vast majority of Americans.”
President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, approved in 2010 without Republican support, has been a flashpoint in Washington, and is a centerpiece of GOP campaigns ahead of November midterms.
The program that aims to provide health insurance for millions without it has recovered from the flawed rollout of its main website, HealthCare.gov, although enrollment figures – now at 4 million - lag behind initial expectations.
Clinton delivered the keynote address at the 2014 meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society.
The not-for-profit organization says it works to improve health care through information technology. A total of 6,000 people we on hand to see Clinton speak, according to event organizers.
Between her remarks and a question-and-answer session with the group’s board chairman, Scott MacLean, Clinton did not offer specifics on how she would change Obamacare.
Instead, she asked the audience of medical professionals and information technology specialists to play a role in the reforms.
Clinton synthesized her views on Obamacare near the end her answer for MacLean, stating that those in power needed to "be smart about the reforms and changes that have to occur."
"So sitting here today, I think that the glass is slightly more than half full in terms of the positive reality," Clinton concluded. "If there are things that are going to undermine quality, increase cost, than we have to know about them."
Clinton’s history with healthcare reform dates back to the 1980s, when her husband Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas.
When Mrs. Clinton was first lady from 1993 to 2001, she spearheaded the Clinton White House’s unsuccessful effort to overhaul the health care system.