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Secretary of Explaining Stuff


It was one year ago this week when President Obama reflected on former President Bill Clinton's speech at the Democratic National Convention. "President Clinton made the case in the way that only he can," Obama told supporters in New Hampshire. "Somebody emailed me after the speech and said, 'You need to appoint him Secretary of Explaining Stuff.'"

Who better, then, to help make the case for the Affordable Care Act?

"I have agreed to give this talk today because I am still amazed at how much misunderstanding there is about the current system of health care, how it works, how it compares with what other people in other countries pay for health care and what kind of results they get and what changes are actually occurring now and are going to occur in the future," he said. [...]Clinton touted the benefits of the law that are already in place that have allowed students to stay on their parents' insurance until age 26, along with reforms that require insurance companies not consider pre-existing conditions for 17 million kids. In addition, more than 100 million Americans have seen the lifetime caps on their insurance policies disappear.He also debunked one of the biggest lies from the right, that the law is leading to an epidemic of employers cutting workers to part-time, by noting that 90 percent of the jobs created since the law passed have been full-time.

"This law has already done a lot of good," Clinton added. "And it's about to make 95 percent of us insured."

The former president, uncharacteristically reading from a prepared text he wrote, also took note of what congressional Republicans have been up to -- though he did so obliquely.

"It seems to me that the benefits of the reform can't be fully realized and the problem certainly can't be solved unless both the supporters and the opponents of the original legislation work together to implement it and address the issues that arise whenever you try to change a system this complex. There are always drafting errors, unintended consequences, unanticipated issues. We're going to do better working together and learning together than we will trying over and over again to repeal the law or rooting for the reform to fail."

Clinton added, in response to misguided Republican forecasts, "So far the direst predictions for adverse consequences have not occurred, and I don't believe [they] will."