Bill Clinton calls Obamacare ‘the craziest thing in the world’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bill Clinton criticized President Barack Obama’s signature policy reform while on the stump for his wife, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, calling Obamacare “the craziest thing in the world.”
Speaking Monday at a Democratic rally in Flint, Michigan, the former president ripped into the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for flooding the health care insurance market and causing premiums to rise for middle-class Americans who do not qualify for subsidies.
“So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then 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,” Clinton said.
Clinton, whose efforts with his wife to overhaul health care in the 1990s were stymied by a recalcitrant Congress and the insurance lobby, told the crowd the insurance model “doesn’t make sense” and “doesn’t work here.”
Touting his wife’s proposal to allow people without access to subsidies to buy into Medicare and Medicaid, he also acknowledged that market-based solutions would not solve the country’s problems with insurance costs and coverage.
“On the other hand, 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,” Clinton said. “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.”
Angel Urena, Clinton’s press secretary, defended the former president’s stance on Obamacare on Tuesday, saying he had consistently supported the legislation since it was enacted in 2010.
“President Clinton spoke about the importance of the ACA and the good it has done to expand coverage for millions of Americans. And while he was slightly short-handed, it’s clear to everyone, including President Obama, that improvements are needed,” Urena said in a statement.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment but not yet received a response.
Since it’s become law, the Obama administration and the President himself have publicly signaled they’re open to changing the ACA, but have cited Republicans in Congress as unwilling partners who want to repeal the legislation.
“What I would also say is that since the very first day the President signed this bill into law, he acknowledged an openness to working with Democrats or Republicans in Congress to further strengthen it,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said at a briefing Monday. “And we have seen a sustained commitment on the part of Republicans to trying to tear down that law.”