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Bill Clinton Did Not Trash Obamacare At All

CNN simply couldn't help themselves and had to publish the click-bait headline.
Views:

Everyone wants clicks. I get it. Our livelihoods here in the online business depend on eyeballs and clicks in to our articles. But CNN knows better than to publish one like this.

Here is his full quote:

The current system works fine if you're eligible for Medicaid, if you're a lower income working person, if you're already on Medicare, or if you get enough subsidies on a modest income that you can afford your health care.

But the people that are getting killed in this deal are small-business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies. Why? Because they're not organized, they don't have any bargaining power with insurance companies, and they're getting whacked. So you've got this crazy system where all of a sudden, 25 million more people have health care, and then the people that 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.

The word "craziest" there refers to the current system overall, which is a patchwork of state, federal and private programs. Obamacare is just a piece of the larger picture.

I'm pretty sure he was offering the foundation of an argument for a public option or a single payer system. If you look at the beginning where he discusses Medicaid and Medicare, both of which are single payer systems, it's pretty clear.

Sarah Kliff at Vox agrees.

At least to me, it seems that Clinton is describing Obamacare as one chunk of a nonsensical “current system.” And I think most Democrats — most Americans, really — would agree with this assessment of how health insurance works in the United States.

We have a health care system where access to coverage depends on where you live, where you work, how old you are, and how much you earn. When any of those variables change — you get older, move states, switch jobs — you switch to a new type of coverage with its own co-payments, doctor networks, and paperwork. You can’t really compare any of the different programs because they’re all structured so differently. And most of them offer very little transparency about how much health care will actually cost you after you sign up.

Even if you interpret his statements as being aimed straight at the ACA rather than the system as a whole, it's pretty clear he wasn't trashing it, but saying what all of us have been saying. It needs improvements.

It needs a public option to put pressure on the for-profit insurance industry to quit gaming the system. This isn't anything new. Even President Obama says that. It's hardly a condemnation of his signature achievement.

If only Republicans were interested in improving it instead of repealing it.

CNN definitely offered up some major click-bait there to gin up right wing Obamacare haters, and they went after it like feral beasts looking for any scrap they can find.

Trump spokesman Jason Miller jumped right on the bandwagon after they (and The Hill) published his comments, saying "With premiums continuing to skyrocket, state insurance markets collapsing and businesses struggling to comply with its job-killing mandates, even Democrats like Bill Clinton are coming to realize just what bad public policy ObamaCare really is.”

Nope, not so much. It makes for a sexy, clickable headline, but the words he actually spoke argue for the same values President Obama and the Democratic Party support -- strengthening our health care system and making it more effective.

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