Bill Clinton made the economic case for implementing and improving the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday morning at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The White House asked the man who was dubbed “The Secretary of Explaining Sh*t” after last year’s Democratic convention to explain the law, in an attempt to combat the massive campaign by Republicans to misinform voters and sabotage President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment.
“I have agreed to give this talk today because I am still amazed at how much misunderstanding there is about the current system of health care, how it works, how it compares with what other people in other countries pay for health care and what kind of results they get and what changes are actually occurring now and are going to occur in the future,” he said.
Clinton was speaking in front of a small audience of doctors and health care professionals, but his audience was clearly the media and thousands watching the livestream of the speech online.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll released the last week of August revealed that 51 percent of people polled said they “don’t have enough information about the Affordable Care Act to understand how it will impact them and their family,” and 44 percent were confused about or unaware of the current status of the law.
The former president noted that America is first “by a country mile” in the share of gross domestic product we spend on health care, at 17.9 percent. Yet our results are somewhere around 25th — at best — in the world.
He suggested our economy could be transformed if we could reduce that share to the 12 percent of GDP Switzerland and the Netherlands devote to health care.
“The difference between 17.9 percent and 12 percent is $1 trillion a year,” he said. “A trillion dollars that could go to pay raises, or to hire new employees or to make investments that would make our economy grow faster or to provide more capital to start small businesses or to expand others or to support diversifying and strengthening agriculture. You name it. A trillion dollars is a lot of money to spot our competitors in a highly competitive global economy.”
Obamacare is the best way to begin this transformation, he argued.
“It’s better than the current system, which is unaffordable and downright unhealthy for millions of Americans,” he said.