Fmr. President Bill Clinton: Obamacare "Must Be Changed"Written by Ed Willing
Former Pres. Bill Clinton surprised few when he expressed support for Pres. Obama's signature achievement, the Affordable Care Act. He has surprised even fewer in his assurances that technological problems with the law and it's rollout will be resolved soon enough. But in a recent interview with OZY, The former two-term president revealed his recently buried moderate tone as he discussed the law that has now been embraced by the President himself as, "Obamacare," and said he believes the law should be changed.
“I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, that the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they’ve got,” Clinton said in the interview. “For young people mostly, but not all young, who are in the individual market whose incomes are above 400 percent of the poverty level - they were the ones who heard the promise that if you like what you’ve got you can keep it."
During the interview, Clinton recalled a young man he had met who had two children and saw his own insurance policy canceled. He had the option to get a new plan through the ACA, but his premium doubled. Clearly, something must change to assure these families they can have the coverage they once had, he said.
The problems with the Affordable Care Act have been mounting since 2010, when various mandates in the bill began forcing some companies to begin charging higher premiums to compensate for increased access and higher risk applicants. Many however, have celebrated the new limits that have allowed those with pre-existing conditions and adult children still living at home to stay under their parents' plans until age 26. The latest blow to the law came last week when the 6th District Court in D.C. ruled in a 2-1 decision that the birth control mandate was unconstitutional.
The biggest challenges still facing the President's team is fixing the Healthcare.gov site, and determining how to address the growing policy cancellation wave sweeping the country. WisconsinFree reported late last month that government documents have revealed the President and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius knew as far back as 2009 that as many as 93 million Americans would lose their existing plans between the private and employer-sponsored health insurance market.
Former President Clinton's remarks in the interview were both consoling and concerned, as he relayed the stories he's heard from people who have felt the federal government failed to deliver on it's oft-stated promise.
President Obama last week suggested that he is open to considering alternatives to amending the law in a way that allows people losing their policies to be "grandfathered in," but no explanation was given for the estimated 4 million who already have. “I've assigned my team to see what we can do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law,” he said. Many however believe that the law may have to be repealed entirely or it could politicall threaten the progress liberal Democrats have made the last 5 years.
Legislation has been offered in the House and Senate to address the issue. In the Senate, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson has introduced the "If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It Act." Additional legislation has been proposed by a group of red state Democrats who have become increasingly willing to speak out against the botched ObamaCare rollout, as many face tough reelection prospects in 2014.
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Ed Willing helped launch WisconsinFree.com and served as it's first Editor-in-Chief. He is also the author of the book "Part Time Nation." As a small business owner and manager of several blogs he has experience with local reporting, policy research and budget matters. He was a co-founder and editor of Founders Intent and has also worked as a consultant and trainer for political campaigns and Fortune 500 companies. His primary interests are in Constitutional Law and economics, having the opportunity to conduct public speaking seminars for activists and business professionals.