Former President Bill Clinton shot back at a heckler at a Tuesday about his position on the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Clinton seemed to misstep in October calling the ACA the “craziest thing in the world.” Republicans seized on the comments and nominee Donald Trump has been using the line at his rallies over the past few weeks.
In his response Wednesday, Clinton said his comments had been taken out of context and he supported the healthcare law.
“That is not at all what I said,” replied Clinton to the heckler. “No. Oh really, go read it. Go read it. Don’t read it over the internet, get the whole thing.”
Clinton said his support of healthcare reform in general and Obamacare specifically went back many years.
“I campaigned hard for that law,” Clinton said. “I risked the Congress to pass universal healthcare. Thirdly, I defended President Obama in 2010 and 2012. He went up 5 points in the polls after I defended what he did on healthcare.”
Clinton also clarified his comments, saying that Obamacare needs some fixes as both the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Obama have said.
“We shouldn’t be in denial, the president said the same thing,” Clinton said. “I didn’t say a thing that the president hadn’t already said, or that the health care people in his administration hadn’t already said in his administration.”
In his original comments that spurred controversy, Clinton drew attention to the fact that a chunk of people receiving health insurance through the ACA’s public exchanges that do not receive government subsidies to help pay for their plans. This is a small number of the total exchange population, however, with 77% of people on the exchanges able to get a plan for less than $100 a month after subsidies.
Even so, these are weakness that even Obama pointed out in a speech in Miami last month. Both Clinton and Obama have called on reforms to the law to fill this gap.
Obamacare has become a key issue in the waning days of the election, with premiums for exchange plans increasing dramatically in many swing states such as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona.
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