The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act got a boost Wednesday from former President Bill Clinton, who praised the law's benefits and urged both its supporters and detractors to work together on fixing its problems.
Clinton's speech is a needed boost for the White House less than a month before open enrollment begins, especially as the Obama administration is now focused on garnering support from Congress for a military strike against the Syrian government. President Barack Obama has come under criticism since the 2010 passage of the law for not adequately explaining and promoting the law to counter the attacks against it. ACA supporters hope the man Obama called “the Secretary of Explaining Stuff” will help remedy that.
Addressing attendees at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, including Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, Clinton said he agreed to give the talk because he's “still amazed how much misunderstanding there is” about the current healthcare system, how it works and how it's going to change. Drawing from his experience as an attorney, Clinton mounted a case for the ACA. He noted that healthcare costs—which accounted for about 17.9% of the nation's GDP before Congress passed the law three years ago—contributed to 60% of personal bankruptcies in the U.S. before the economic crash. He also chided House Republicans for voting repeatedly to repeal or defund the statute while failing to offer what he called “real alternatives” to fix the system.