After spending much of his day focused on foreign policy, President Barack Obama sat down in the city Tuesday evening to talk health care with a distinguished moderator: former President Bill Clinton. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
For one of his last stops on a busy day in New York, President Barack Obama brought out the big guns, teaming up with former President Bill Clinton to tout health care reform, which Obama said will bring relief both to struggling families and to the deficit.
"It has everything to do with the economy, in addition to what I consider to be the moral imperative that a mom should not have to go bankrupt if her son or daughter gets sick," Obama said.
Tuesday's event at the Clinton Global Initiative in Midtown came exactly one week before new state-run insurance exchanges go live. The White House is seeking to educate the public and make sure as many uninsured Americans as possible sign on to the exchanges. That, in turn, is expected to bring rates down.
"In many states across the country, if you're, say, a 27-year-old young woman, don't have health insurance, you get on that exchange, you're going to be able to purchase high-quality health insurance for less than the cost of your cellphone bill," Obama said.
Obama also sought to dispel some of the most persistent criticisms of health care reform at a time when Republicans in Congress are seeking to strip Obamacare of funding.
Already, the program is yielding benefits, Obama said, by, for instance, allowing children to stay on their parents' health plans until age 26.
"For those who say that they want to repeal it, typically, when you ask them about, 'Well, what are all these various benefits?', they say, 'Well, that one's good, and that one's pretty good, and we'd keep that," he said. "And you pretty much go down the list, and there's not too much people object to."
Clinton, helping sell the plan, noted that even Republican-controlled states are signing on and creating exchanges. He said that now, it's up to the public to buy in.
"I think this is a big step forward for America," Clinton said.