Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

September 25, 2013

Reunited Presidents Obama, Bill Clinton tout health care law

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton took to the same stage Tuesday to promote the new health care law that Obama championed after Clinton’s own efforts to reform health care years earlier fell flat.

Joining forces under dimmed lights in a hotel ballroom in New York, Obama and Clinton laid out the law’s benefits and its connection to the economy while dispelling what they called disinformation about its downsides. Clinton, acting as host, lobbed the questions; Obama answered with the eagerness of a guest on a daytime TV talk show.

It was a pair of presidents in dark suits, reclining on comfy, white chairs as they reflected on the effort that went in to passing the sweeping law, and the intense challenges facing its implementation. New exchanges where Americans can buy health insurance — a centerpiece of the law — open for enrollment on Oct. 1.

“I don’t have pride of authorship for this thing, I just want the thing to work,” Obama said. He added that he was confident Americans will be swayed by its advantages even though polls show they’re deeply wary of the law. “The devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t know.”

Clinton felt free to point out some of the drawbacks in the law’s implementation, while making clear that Obama was not the one to blame. For example, he noted that the Supreme Court said states could not be forced to take Medicaid money to finance the expansion of health coverage.

“That’s going to lead to a cruel result, and there’s nothing the president can do, and it’s not his fault. That’s what the Supreme Court said,” Clinton said.

The hourlong appearance, sponsored by the former president’s foundation known as the Clinton Global Initiative, marks the start of a concerted campaign by the Obama administration and its allies to inform consumers about their options under the law. It also took place around the 20th anniversary of Clinton’s address to a joint session of Congress calling for an overhaul of the health care system. That effort, by Clinton and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was unsuccessful.

Mrs. Clinton, who ran against Obama before becoming his first-term secretary of state, introduced the two presidents with a list of what they have in common. They’re both left-handed, love golf and have fabulous daughters, she said. And one more thing:

“They each married far above themselves,” Clinton said with a laugh.

Beyond the discussion, Obama also plans to promote the law during a speech Thursday at a community college in Maryland. Vice President Joe Biden will reach out to nurses across the country on a conference call and Obama will hold a separate call with mayors and other state and local officials, the White House said. First lady Michelle Obama plans outreach to key groups, such as mothers and military veterans, through editorials.

Aware that a lack of participation could imperil the law’s success, Obama noted the “unprecedented effort” by conservatives to block it, then repeal it, then scare Americans out of signing up for coverage. The Republican-controlled House has voted dozens of times to repeal, delay or starve the law of funds, arguing that it is hurting the economy. None of the bills have advanced in the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Obama said the budding effort to explain and promote it is in part about clearing up misconceptions that opponents have intentionally cultivated.

“Normally, this would be pretty straightforward,” Obama said. “But let’s face it. It’s been a little political, this whole Obamacare thing.”

Afterward, Obama spoke at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Officials said about 250 people were expected at the event, paying anywhere from $5,000 to the maximum of $32,400 to attend.

———

Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Valdosta Daily Times e-Edition, or our print edition

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Stowaway teen forces review of airport security

    A 15-year-old boy found his way onto an airport’s tarmac and climbed into a jetliner’s wheel well, then flew for five freezing hours to Hawaii — a misadventure that forced authorities to take a hard look at the security system that protects the nation’s airline fleet.

    April 22, 2014

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Death count in ferry sinking tops 100

    One by one, coast guard officers carried the newly arrived bodies covered in white sheets from a boat to a tent on the dock of this island, the first step in identifying a sharply rising number of corpses from a South Korean ferry that sank nearly a week ago.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP520422034 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2014. There are 253 days left in the year.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commission to vote to purchase new computers

    Lowndes County commissioners discussed replacing outdated computers, a bid for an emergency bypass pump, an annexation request from the City of Hahira, a juvenile justice grant application, and an appointment to the dangerous dog board.

    April 22, 2014

  • KLVB receives Governor’s Circle Recognition Award

    Keep Lowndes/Valdosta Beautiful received the Governor’s Circle Award. These inaugural, statewide awards were presented by Gov. Nathan Deal at the State Capitol .

    April 22, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum reviews ‘The Art Forger’

     “Fascinating” is the word to describe the world of art forgery as revealed by guest reviewer Laura Hughes to Readers’ Forum.

    April 22, 2014

  • Immigration _Rich copy.jpg DHS secretary re-evaluating deportation priorities

    Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Wednesday he’s re-evaluating the Obama administration’s deportation priorities to make certain they’re focused on national security, public safety and border security, amid growing pressure from the Latino community and President Barack Obama’s fellow Democrats. 

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rethinking Pot 420_Rich copy.jpg Public smoke-out marks pot holiday in Colorado

    Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Submarine Sleep Sched_Rich copy.jpg Navy OKs changes for submariners’ sleep schedules

    With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the U.S. Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance to life above the ocean’s surface.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • South Korea Ship Sink_Rich copy.jpg Grim work for families as more bodies discovered

    There are no names listed as relatives huddle around signboards to identify bodies from a sunken ferry. Just the slimmest of clues about mostly young lives now lost. Many favored hoodies and track pants. One girl painted her fingernails red and toenails black. Another had braces on her teeth.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
Other
     View Results