President Obama and President Clinton Discuss Health Care

President Obama joined former President Bill Clinton for a conversation about health care in the United States and around the world, earlier this week, as part of the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

In their conversation President Clinton pointed out that the Affordable Care Act was working with new studies showing that consumers were getting more access to coverage, with more choices and at lower costs than originally projected.

” I should point out that, so far, in most states, one of the good things that at least I didn’t know whether it would happen is when we began this in the United States, more than 80 percent of the American states had only one or two companies providing health insurance who had more than 80 percent of the market.  So there was, in effect, no price competition.  So what I was terrified of was we’d open these things and there would only be one company show up and bid, and this whole thing, we’d be having an academic conversation.  Instead, it’s actually led to the establishment of more companies doing more bidding.

“And I think part of it is they have greater confidence that they can deliver health care at a more modest cost.  So, so far, it’s good.  But I think it’s important for you to the tell the people why we’re doing all this outreach — because this only works, for example, if young people show up.  And even if they buy their cheapest plan, then they claim their tax credits, so it won’t cost them much — 100 bucks a month or so.  We got to have them in the pools, because otherwise all these projected low costs cannot be held if older people with preexisting conditions are disproportionately represented in any given state.  You’ve got to have everybody lined up.

“So explain what kind of — all the work you’ve been doing on the outreach for the opening on October” President Clinton said.

President Obama again noted that the Affordable Care Act was extending to uninsured Americans access to the health security that all of us need to succeed in the global marketplace.

‘The bottom line, though, is do we want to continue to live in a society where we’ve got the most inefficient health care system on Earth, leaving millions of people exposed to the possibilities that they could lose everything because they get sick?  Or we’ve got little children and families going to the emergency room once a week because they’ve got asthma and other preventable diseases, because their families aren’t linked up with a primary care physician who is providing them regular care?  Where the costs to society for reduced productivity, illnesses, et cetera, all burden our businesses?  Is that the kind of society we aspire to?

“And I think the answer is no.  And the notion that we would resist, or at least some would resist as fiercely as they have, make this their number-one agenda, perpetuating a system in which millions of people across the country, hardworking Americans don’t have access to health care I think is wrong” President Obama said.

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