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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Spurred by screaming headlines about “skyrocketing” premiums on some government insurance exchanges, Obamacare foes are dredging up Bill Clinton’s colorful quote regarding the Affordable Care Act. No, Clinton didn’t call it “crazy.”

This is what Clinton said (after noting that over 20 million more Americans now have health care): “The people who are out there busting it, sometimes 60 hours a week, wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

And he’s right about this aspect of Obamacare. Something’s wrong when the poor and middling are subsidized and those over 65 — paupers and billionaires alike — bask in the security of Medicare but the middle and upper-middle classes get whacked, or seem to.

Let’s put the matter in context and in proportion. Let’s do some grown-up explaining.

To start, the unsubsidized folks facing 25 percent jumps in premiums (mid-level plans are the benchmark) are a small group. Less than 10 percent of Americans buy insurance on the federal and state exchanges. That’s about 12 million people, versus the 155 million who are covered at work. And 86 percent of people on the government exchanges get federal assistance to pay their premiums. More will qualify for subsidies as the premiums go up.

Secondly, the 25 percent figure is an average. The increases are very large in Phoenix (up 145 percent) and Birmingham, Alabama (up 71 percent). But in Ohio, it’s only 2 percent, and in a few markets, premiums are actually going down. In Providence, Rhode Island, for example, they’ve fallen 14 percent.

Obamacare overall hasn’t been a bad deal, even for most of the unsubsidized customers using the government marketplaces. After adding in the stiff 2017 price increases, average exchange premiums will still be lower than predicted when the health care reform law was enacted in 2010.

Furthermore, unsubsidized premiums on the government exchanges have actually been 10 percent lower than the full premiums in employers’ plans. That’s an average $464 a month, versus $516.

Workers often think of their costs as what they directly contribute for their company’s coverage. They don’t consider what the employer pays, a sum that gets taken out of paychecks.

The markets suffering the biggest surge in premium costs are those where insurers are pulling out or back. In North Carolina, for example, 95 of the counties have only one insurer, and five have only two.

The reason, insurers say, is that the pool of customers is sicker than anticipated. It’s no small irony that one reason more healthy specimens didn’t sign up is that employers haven’t been ditching their company plans as Obamacare’s enemies said would happen. And people on employer plans tend to be healthier.

What do we do about this? First off, elect Hillary Clinton president. She understands health care inside and out.

Donald Trump knows zip. “All of my employees are having a tremendous problem with Obamacare,” he said. Not true! Most of his workers are on his company plans, which means they’re not on Obamacare.

Clinton is calling for a “public option,” a government-run insurance plan that could boost competition in the marketplaces.

Clinton would let Americans ages 55 to 64 buy in to Medicare. She should keep moving down the age ladder until everyone’s getting Medicare — and America has one efficient and uncomplicated system for health coverage.

Could Obamacare have been better designed? Sure. As they say in politics, a camel is a horse made in committee. But this camel functions a lot better than the wheezing health-coverage beast we had in the pre-Obamacare era. Now that was crazy.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at

Photo: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks during the Clinton Global Initiative’s annual meeting in New York, September 29, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson 

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44 responses to “No, Bill Clinton Did Not Call Obamacare ‘Crazy’”

  1. dpaano says:

    Just another way that the GOP has screwed up the context of a speech so that it sounds bad when it really isn’t.

    • Anna Maria Yoakum says:

      The GOP is great at double-talk and also side-stepping. Just saying that reminds me of the Governor in the musical, “The Best Little Hoar House in Texas”, and his song, “The Sidestep”. It was hilarious. Don’t know if any of you caught the play or the movie but in the movie that song was a hit with the audience as they could truly relate to it.

    • Independent1 says:

      I think the RNC, Heritage Foundation and other right-winger groups hire people to just monitor everything that is said today that’s reported by some media source, just so they can twist the words spoken by a Democrat to make them come out sounding wrong.

      • dpaano says:

        I totally agree……anything they can find, even the smallest nugget….is taken totally out of context and turned into a conspiracy theory! It’s ridiculous!

        • Independent1 says:

          Yes, and I’m also convince that Assange with wikileaks is modifying stolen documents and emails to further create fake scandals.

          A document has recently been released by wikileaks supposedly showing that Bill Clinton asked for and was given lavish gifts along with high speaking fees and supposed donations to the Clinton Foundation for his speeches. I believe all that stuff like I believe the world is flat.

  2. AgLander says:

    He said it, He said it, He meant it…….but wait! Don’t you dare believe your lying ears! The typical lemming and easily led low information user of this propaganda site called National Memo, (founded by the grandson of the founder of the anarchist Movement in America), will willingly be led into the barn, told to lie down and remember nothing…..and guess what, they will willingly and happily do it!!

    • I Am Helpy says:

      “I don’t WANT to believe it’s true so it can’t be true!”
      – you, a dumb racist

    • Independent1 says:

      What everyone is failing to remember, is that for over 6 years, health insurance premiums went up far less/yr than they had been going up before ACA was enacted. Prior to ACA, private health insurance premiums were increasing at an 8 to 15%/yr rate. After 2008, premiums began increasing only 3-6%/yr rate. That’s a difference of 2-9% less/yr than they had been up which if you take a midpoint of that, say 6%/yr over those 6 years, without ACA premiums for 2016 would have been at least 36% higher than they were had ACA never been enacted. So the 25% average increase means that private health insurance customers are still well ahead of the game and are paying less (even without the subsidies), than they would be paying today of Obamacare had not been enacted.

      And another point everyone is missing, is that people today would be paying those higher premiums while getting far less benefit from their health insurance: like there would be no covered annual physical exams without a co-pay, women wouldn’t be getting annual mammograms without a co-pay; health insurance plans would still have annual caps on what the health insurer would pay which is now illegal; virtually all plans would have a life-time maximum which is now illegal, on family plans, dependent children would not be being covered to age 26 and there are simply far to many increased benefits that people are getting today while paying less money!!!!!!!!!

      • dpaano says:

        I agree….my health insurance, which is through my employer, has consistently gone up every year. It’s expected and I don’t blink at it. Health costs are going up everywhere, and it’s just the ACA carriers! People seem to not understand this and blame the rise in rates totally on Obamacare! I agree….many people are benefiting from Obamacare….moreso than they did previously without any insurance. AND, the best thing to remember is that before, when a person without insurance went to the ER, it was our taxpayer money that paid for their care. Now, with Obamacare, they have an insurance company that pays some of all of it in lieu of the taxpayers.
        Additionally, the GOP doesn’t seem to care that more people would die without some type of insurance…..after all, look at the states that turned down Obamacare. The death rates in those states have risen considerably. The states don’t have the money to fund their own Medicare programs, so the citizens go without decent medical care. But, the GOP don’t seem to worry about that (of course, most of them have health insurance or money to pay for their expenses…, what do they care about a few poor people without insurance?
        I agree with Hillary, the system isn’t perfect and needs tweeking, and that’s what she’s hoping to do. There are many things in Obamacare that need to be fixed; i.e., drug prices, etc., and I think we can look to her to get it taken care of so that Obamacare, or the ACA as it’s supposed to be called, is better and more efficient for everyone.

        • Independent1 says:

          Yes, and Republicans are even refusing to admit that Obamacare and expanding Medicaid actually spur the economy and create jobs because Obamacare has required medical providers to do a better job of providing healthcare.

          Just using some statistics from an article I have on how expanding Medicaid helped Arizona: Expanding Medicaid in the red state of Arizona lowered the uninsured rate of people coming to the ER by around 45 percent. That reduced the monies that the Arizona government billions of dollars in lower taxpayer money it had to send to hospitals to reimburse them for having to provide free healthcare to uninsureds.

          And Arizona State University projected that expanding Medicaid would spur the Arizona economy by adding about 1.8 billion in consumer spending over 2014/15 because people who originally were stockpiling savings in case of a health emergency, could now spend some of that money because they now had Medicaid. And ASU also projected that in addition to the billions saved by reduced reimbursements to hospitals, Arizona would realize about 2.8 billion over 2014/15 in increased tax revenues due to the improved economy; and that during those two years, 15,000 new jobs would be created across the state not only in healthcare but also in the retail sector because of the added spending of people who no longer had to fear about getting a medical emergency.

          (And all of that doesn’t take into account the well over 100,000 Americans still alive today because Obamacare has forced America’s healthcare delivery system to do a better job of caring for people – so that hundreds of thousands less Americans each year are no longer catching an illness while in the hospital worse than they had when they went into the hospital which actually ended up killing them.)

    • kep says:

      Liberal spin control. If it doesn’t fit their narrative, they rewrite history. Sheeple.

      • Independent1 says:

        Exactly what history are liberals rewriting??

        Especially given that history shows that GOP governance over the past 100 plus years has been mediocre at best and a disaster at worst.

        Here’s a couple graphs that show every Democrat president has produced better jobs and GDP growth since Hoover was in office than every Republican, except for the GDP growth under Obama because 14 Republicans met on his inauguration night to plot how they could sabotage the economy and for 7 years have followed through on that promise.

        And there’s a chart which shows today’s enormous income inequality started – income flow to skyrocket into the pockets of the upper 10% started with the administration of one Ronald Reagan.

        These are just a couple OF FACTS which show living under conservatism is not only a danger you your financial well being but also to your very life!!

        • kep says:

          Not that you would, but you should watch “Hillarys America “. A nice little history of the Democratic Party. Maybe you will learn something other than the lies the regime feeds you.

          • Independent1 says:

            Sorry, I’m not into kiddie fantasy shows that have been concocted by right-wing nut cases by fabricating reality. I know more about the history of the GOP and Dems than any of you right-wing nutcases posting here on the NM. And I’m not clueless enough to claim that the Dems have been saints – but there’s a big difference between somewhat corrupted politicians and politicians that are nothing less than Satan himself. (I can remember sitting and listening to FDR’s fireside chats.)

          • kep says:

            I think the Satan comment best describes the Muslim commie we now have in our White House, and Hillary will be worse. The film I suggested is HISTORY, not a fabricated reality as you would like to believe because it does not fit into your liberal narrative. You are just a paid liberal troll perpetuating the lies of the regime.

          • Independent1 says:

            Wow!! Calling a president who was born in America and is a know Christian a Muslim Commie!! You really are a total lowlife aren’t you!!

            And the GOP is the exact image of Satan. GOP politicians put money above even the lives their own constituents!! They do that by signing a pledge to a fat old man that they won’t raise taxes on the wealthy by one dime NO MATTER HOW MUCH RAISING THOSE TAXES WOULD HELP AMERICA AND THE PEOPLE THEY’RE REALLY SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT!!

            Keep on drinking that GOP-loving koolaid clueless!!!

          • kep says:

            As stated many times in the past when you go on one of these regime propaganda rants, you aren’t worth my time, nor the air you are breathing. Go seek help and read some history, other than that your handlers feed you, comrade.

          • Independent1 says:

            I know, when you don’t have enough brain cells to fathom anything but fantasies, it’s tough to understand that Republicans are the party of the Devil.

            They spew hatred against all people’s not like themselves. They love money above everything else even the lives of their constituents. They willingly vote to let people die without hesitation just to get themselves even richer. And they lie incessantly – being a pathological liar is part of being a GOP politician.

          • kep says:

            Again, and lastly, liberals have elevated lying to their perceived virtue. Emperor Obama lies as easily as he breathes. He has been proven to be a liar many times, and, hopefully, maybe he will actually be held accountable for his deception. Hillary is a pathological liar. The list is too long to even scratch the surface. Liberals are brainwashed into thinking what is false is true, and what is true are lies. I think you know the difference, but feel a need to impress your handlers. Were you one of the thugs that were hired by the DNC to promote violence at Trump rallies? I bet your handlers were involved, right along with Hillary.

          • Independent1 says:

            What a load of crap!! Bellview sanitarium is holding a spot open for you. You are crazy as a bed bug (so the saying goes)!!

          • Anna Maria Yoakum says:

            You’re wasting your breath. If Keppy-pooh was a true Trumpet, he/she would have given up by now, realizing that he/she was out-matched and out-smarted. Since Keppy just hangs on (like AgLander does) I tend to think they are both trolls. Perhaps paid trolls or perhaps not. The only way to get rid of them is to ignore or block them.

          • Independent1 says:

            And just for the record there sonny boy, you are aware that Republicans today are deliberately committing the murder of thousands of Americans every month by their deliberate legislative actions. I can find no history of Dems deliberately voting for bills they knew would end up causing people to die – which the GOP does on a regular basis.

          • kep says:

            You are brain dead, aren’t you?
            Democrats were behind slavery. The civil war was fought over states rights, but the Democrats would not even entertain the idea of freeing slaves. Jim Crow and the KKK were all Democrats. Our inner cities …More democratic engineering to keep the blacks and poor under their thumb.
            Open borders, which is a Democrat mantra, kill thousands of Americans by allowing criminals to pour over into our country, knowing they face little threat in the US. Gun control, which is nothing but people control, takes defensive weapons from American citizens and places them in the hands of gangs also kills thousands. How about four Americans killed in Bengauzi because of a DEMOCRAT.
            You are a paid liberal troll.

          • Independent1 says:

            What a load of crap!! Democrats are behind slavery – talk about being brain dead!! Democrats are the party of Lincoln!! Virtually every Union State that Lincoln led is now a blue state!! You’re so brain dead you believe the pathological lies of right wingers!!

            That’s too dumb for words!!

            Which party’s people are waving around the Confederate Flag representing the states who fought to keep slavery dummkopf???
            Wake up!!!!!

          • kep says:

            Again, read some history other than that fed to you by the regime. It’s ALL true. Lincoln was a Republican.

          • Independent1 says:

            You need to read this there dummkopf:

            From the Washington Post:

            Today’s GOP is the party of Jefferson Davis, not of Lincoln

            Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.


          • Independent1 says:

            The slave drivers of the south that loved to wave the Confederate Flag, the Dixiecrats, switched parties when LBJ pushed for the Civil Rights movement; thereby turning the Party of Lincoln from being the Republican party to Today’s Democrat party; while what was the confederacy lovers moved from the Democrat Party to form today’s Republican Party. Wake up and start educating yourself mindless one!!

            The Democrats Big Lie: Dixiecrats Switched to Republican Party with Racist Agenda

            This lie comes up about the parties switching philosophies because the Democrats reach and reach again when trying to correlate or give a reason that is false and not even thought through. They usually say – the racist Dixiecrats left the Democratic party for the Republican Party, but they can never give more than one name – Strom Thurman! This is the crux of the entire reason why black leaders today say that the Republicans are the party of lynchings and killing blacks when they are 100% wrong. They hang on this lie and continue to shove it to minority voters every election. Check out this video and then view the list of the Dixiecrats in the US Senate during the 1964 Civil Rights and 1965 Voting Rights Act. These Dixiecrats/Democrats in the Senate voted NO!!!


            The Dixiecrats voted NO because they didn’t want to give Blacks the same treatment as whites; and the Dixiecrats are the base of today’s GOP – all the sourthern red states!!

  3. Jon says:

    Anyone with half a brain who listened to or read a transcript of the speech knew exactly what he meant. He was extolling the positives while talking about fixing the negative. I heard it and it was obvious to anyone with a 3rd grade or higher education what he was saying. I was shocked to listen to MSM completely fail to accurately report his speech. They took a few words without any context and led viewers to believe that Bill Clinton had said the whole ACA was crazy. It was disgraceful and one more example of the laziness of MSM and the prejudicial way they cover the Clinton campaign while treating Trump as a man who can do no wrong.

    • dpaano says:

      You have to figure that people working at MSM have less than a 3rd grade education, much like most of the Trump followers and the rest of the GOP! What is so funny is that Trump thinks that the media is prejudicial against him…..I don’t understand that when they’ve given him hundreds of hours of free media! Hillary never got that much “free” stuff!

      • Independent1 says:

        Yes, I read somewhere were some analyst projected that Trump has received over a billion dollars in free MSM coverage.

      • Jon says:

        I realize that some of them have somehow managed to obtain a college degree but I went to college with some pretty dumb people as well as very smart people. Perhaps the most shocking thing I learned was that you didn’t have to be bright to make it through college. I was thoroughly dismayed when I saw the news coverage after having heard the speech.

  4. dtgraham says:

    It sounded like criticism to me. I understand the context of what he said but, still, he could have framed his “crazy” criticism a little less harshly. He could have said, “did you know that Cialis is covered by Obamacare but not the cost of the two bathtubs you need when you use it?” “How about Little Caesar’s double cheese and sausage stuffed crust, wrapped in 3 feet of bacon being covered under Obamacare, but injuries sustained by fat guys trying to fit into skintight Batman costumes at Comic-Con conventions aren’t.” “How do you like that?” “I’m telling you, it’s the craziest thing in the world.”

    He could have toned his criticism down a little. I’m just saying.

    • dpaano says:

      You’re so funny!!!! But, I agree with you….he could have worded it much differently. But, as you know, the right wing conspiracy theorists are always on the lookout for ANYTHING that might smack of something they can use against Hillary, and this is just one more of their smears over nothing!
      By the way, I want to see the fat guys trying to fit into the Batman costumes…..that would be REALLY hilarious!!! And, the Cialis analogy was also a riot…..what gets me is that Cialis is covered under most health insurance plans, but you can’t get birth control or weight loss drugs covered!!! It’s ridiculous! Even my doctor agrees….he says it makes absolutely no sense except that the GOP has NO problem with men screwing around during their midlife crises, but they don’t condone women having birth control!!! It’s so hypocritical that it hurts!

      • dtgraham says:

        Well after all, the GOP claims that Trump’s employees are having big problems with Obamacare. Furthermore, any of them who say that they’re not…’re fired!

        It’s a good thing for the GOP that Trump isn’t asked this question on a regular basis since he changes his mind day-to-day on every question and every issue.

        Week one :
        Trump — “my employees are having tremendous problems with Obamacare.”

        Week two:
        Trump — “none of my employees are on Obamacare.”

        Week three:
        Trump — “what’s Obamacare?”

        I mean, after all dpaano…just because Trump’s employees don’t have Obamacare, that doesn’t mean that he can’t complain about their issues with the Obamacare that they don’t have.

      • Anna Maria Yoakum says:

        That’s the alt-right mentality. Men are macho, virile but women are supposed to be subservient and kept barefoot and pregnant. So health policies seem to be written to substantiate that mentality. Never mind that it costs the insurance companies more for a pregnancy and child birth than it would have to cover birth control !

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