Professor Clinton on health policy…

Former President Clinton became professor Clinton last night, going into detail on a range of subjects, but with an extended riff on health care. The Atlantic has a useful transcript that shows both the prepared text, and where Clinton went off-script or ad-libbed.

What particularly notable is President Clinton’s defense of Medicaid–a topic that has gotten little attention–but that is critical important, and represents the biggest difference between the parties and the candidates, and where the Romney/Ryan budget would make the harshest and cruelest cuts.

Here’s the section of Clinton’s speech on health care, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid:

Now, That brings me to health care.

The Republicans call it derisively Obamacare and They say it’s a government takeover of health care that they’ll repeal a disaster, and that if we’ll just elect them they’ll repeal it. Well, Are they right? Let’s take a look at what’s actually happened so far. First, Individuals and businesses have secured already gotten more than a billion dollars in refunds from their insurance premiums because the new law requires 80 percent to 85 percent of your premiums to be spent on go to your health care, not profits or promotion.
And the gains are even greater than that because a bunch of Other insurance companies have lowered applied to lower their rates to meet comply with the requirement. Second, More than 3 million young people between 19 and 25 are insured for the first time because their parents’ policies can cover them can now carry them on family policies. Millions of seniors are receiving preventive care including all the way from breast cancer screenings and to tests for heart problems and scores of other thingsAnd younger people are getting them, too. Fourth, Soon the insurance companies, not the government, the insurance companies, will have millions of new customers many of them middle class people with pre-existing conditions who never could get insurance before.

Now, finally, listen to this. And For the last two years — after going up at three times the rate of inflation for a decade,for the last two years, health care spending has grown costs have been under 4 percent, in both years for the first time in 50 years.

So let me ask you something. Are we all better off because President Obama fought for health care reform it and passed it? You bet we are.

Now, There were two other attacks on the president in Tampa that I think deserve an answer. First, Both Gov. Romney and congressman Ryan attacked the president for allegedly robbing Medicare of $716 billion. That’s the same attack they leveled against the Congress in 2010, and they got a lot of votes on it. But it’s not true. Look, here’s what really happened. You be the judge. Here’s what really happened. There were no cuts to benefits at all. None. What the president did was to save money by taking the recommendations of a commission of professionals to cut cutting unwarranted subsidies to providers and insurance companies that weren’t making people any healthier and were not necessary to get the providers to provide the service.And instead of raiding Medicare He used the savings to close the donut hole in the Medicare drug program, and — you all got to listen carefully to this; this is really important —and to add eight years to the life of the Medicare Trust Fund so it is solvent till 2024It’s now solvent until 2024. So President Obama and the Democrats didn’t weaken Medicare, they strengthened it Medicare.
Now, When congressman Ryan looked into the that TV camera and attacked President Obama’s Medicare savings as, quote the biggest coldest power play” in raiding Medicare, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. You see, because that $716 billion is exactly to the dollar the same amount of Medicare savings congressman Ryan had he has in his own budget. You got to get one thing — it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did. So … now, you’re having a good time, but this is getting serious, and I want you to listen. It’s important, because a lot of people believe this stuff.

Now, At least on this issue, on this one issue, Gov. Romney’s been consistent. He attacked President Obama too, but he actually wants to repeal the those savings and give the money back to the insurance companies, He wants to go back to the old system, which means we’ll re-open the donut hole and force seniors to pay more for drugs, and we’ll reduce the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by eight full years. So now if he’s elected and does what he promised to do Medicare will now go grow [sic] broke by 2016. Think about that. If that happens, you That means, after all, we won’t have to wait until their voucher program to begins kicks in in 2023 to see the end Medicare as we know it. They’re going to do it to us sooner than we thought.

Now, folks, this is serious, But because it gets worse. And you won’t be laughing when I finish telling you this. They also want to block grant Medicaid and cut it by a third over the coming decade 10 years. Of course, that will hurt that’s going to really hurt a lot of poor kids, but that’s not all. Lot of folks don’t know it, but nearly Almost two-thirds of Medicaid is spent on nursing home care for Medicare seniors who are eligible for Medicaid. 

It’s going to end Medicare as we know it. And a lot of that money is also spent to help and on people with disabilities, including kids from middle class families, with special needs like, Down syndrome or autism a lot of middle-class families whose kids have Down’s syndrome or autism or other severe conditions. I don’t know how those families are going to deal with it. And honestly, let’s think about it, if that happens, I don’t know what those families are going to do. So I know what I’m going to do. I’m going to do everything I can to see that it doesn’t happen. We can’t let it happen. We can’t.

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