NEW YORK (AP) — Health care is reuniting President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton.
The two are set to appear together today to discuss the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) at a session sponsored by the Clinton Global Initiative, the former president’s foundation.
The joint appearance comes exactly one week before people who don’t have health insurance can start signing up on Oct. 1 for coverage plans through new insurance marketplaces. It also comes as the Obama administration and those who stand to benefit from the law’s success, such as insurance companies, launch a campaign to inform consumers about their options under the law.
PPACA requires everyone to carry health insurance or face penalties. Obama has said the goal is to make health care more affordable while extending coverage to millions of people who don’t have it.
Clinton’s appearance will be his second in recent weeks to help promote the 3-year-old law, which has been contentious from the start. In a speech earlier this month in his home state of Arkansas, the former president explained how the law works and argued that it makes the country stronger. He urged opponents to quit trying to undo the law and to work instead to improve it.
The law “does give us the best chance we have to achieve nearly universal coverage, provide higher quality health care and lower the rate of cost increases, which we have got to do in a competitive global economy,” said Clinton, who failed to expand access to health care during his eight years as president.
The Republican-controlled House has voted more than three dozen times to repeal, delay or eliminate funding for the law, arguing that it is hurting the economy by imposing too many requirements on businesses and individuals, and driving health care costs higher as a result. None of the bills have advanced in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Obama highlights popular, consumer-friendly provisions of the law, such as requiring that mammograms and other health screenings be conducted free of charge, and allowing parents to keep children on their plans until they turn 26. He also has highlighted requirements for insurers to spend a certain percentage of premiums on health care.
But large numbers of Americans say they don’t understand the law. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this month found just 30 percent of people saying they understand the law and how it will affect them. Sixty-nine percent said they understand the law only some or not very well.