A Clin­ton gaffe on health care - and Trump pounces

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

WASH­ING­TON: Bill Clin­ton cre­ated fresh prob­lems for his pres­i­den­tial can­di­date wife when he crit­i­cized the way US health care works un­der Barack Obama’s re­forms as “crazy,” prompt­ing Repub­li­can Don­ald Trump to seize on the mis­step Tues­day. The for­mer pres­i­dent has a rep­u­ta­tion for speak­ing in a more free­wheel­ing style than Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton does on the cam­paign trail, and his re­marks in Flint, Michi­gan cre­ated a hic­cup for his wife at a crit­i­cal phase in the White House race just five weeks from Elec­tion Day on Novem­ber 8.

Bill Clin­ton had sought to ex­plain the short­com­ings of the com­plex US sys­tem of health care cov­er­age un­der both public and pri­vate in­sur­ance. Obama’s re­forms, pushed through Congress in 2010, have en­abled mil­lions of peo­ple to ob­tain sub­si­dized health cov­er­age, in­clud­ing mil­lions of pre­vi­ously unin­sured Amer­i­cans. But for some self-em­ployed en­trepreneurs or small-busi­ness own­ers whose in­come is just above the cut-off for sub­si­dies, the price of in­sur­ance ob­tained through so-called “Oba­macare” has in­creased due to un­fore­seen ef­fects on in­sur­ance mar­kets.

“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,” Clin­ton told a crowd in Flint late Mon­day. “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,” he added. “It’s the cra­zi­est thing in the world.”

Thanks for ‘be­ing hon­est’

Clin­ton con­tin­ued his ar­gu­ment by ex­plain­ing that re­forms pro­posed by Hil­lary would al­low more Amer­i­cans to join the Medi­care public in­sur­ance plan for the el­derly and the Med­i­caid plan for low-in­come in­di­vid­u­als. “The in­sur­ance model doesn’t work,” Bill Clin­ton in­sisted, a crit­i­cism made at times by many Democrats who have called for a na­tion­al­ized sys­tem. But Trump and Repub­li­cans, who have tried dozens of times to re­peal all or parts of the Af­ford­able Care Act in the six years since it was in­tro­duced, glee­fully high­lighted the crit­i­cism from a Demo­cratic stal­wart.

“He just said it was a crazy sys­tem where peo­ple end up with pre­mi­ums dou­bled and cov­er­age cut in half. He’s right,” Trump told sup­port­ers in Prescott Val­ley, Ari­zona. “I want to think him for be­ing hon­est,” he added.

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