Bill Clinton has remained extremely relevant in politics since leaving the office in 2001 after 2 terms as President of the United States, as evidenced by the effect just one statement published this week had on not only his own legacy and a possible campaign run for president by his wife, Hillary Clinton, but also on the political debate regarding Obamacare. Stating that “even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment that the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Clinton gave Democrats the opening to write legislation that will address a major issue with Obamacare, but that will also damage the very same law for which they had so strongly fought.
Importantly, Bill Clinton did not reject Obamacare in its entirety, but maintained that the United States is a better country for having it.
The new proposed legislation seeks to allow insurance companies to renew those plans that do not meet the standards of Obamacare for one more year. The insurers will not be forced to do so under the new law, but the move would help the millions of people nationwide that have lost coverage or have been notified that their coverage will be canceled come the first of the year, an issue which has become a sticking point more harmful to the White House than the bungled roll-out of the Obamacare website.
Currently, those whose policies have been canceled may look for new coverage on state or federal exchanges, but with the Obamacare website’s difficulties, it has been nearly impossible for consumers to do so. Unscrupulous insurers have also used the forced Obamacare cancellations as an excuse to steer clients towards their own plans, which are more expensive, instead of leading them to the health care exchange.
Bill Clinton has not only remained relevant, but he has become the Democratic Party’s most important statesman. When he called on President Obama to keep the promise regarding individuals keeping their current policies under Obamacare, he offered an escape for Democrats whose dogged determination to toe the party line was beginning to wear thin. Clinton silently made the point that the failed rollout of Obamacare doesn’t belong to the Democrats, but to Obama himself, giving Democrats an opportunity to show that they are working to correct Obama’s mistakes instead of leaving it to the Republicans. Come election time, this will be an important point for voters.
Giving this lifeline to Democrats and speaking from a position of straight common sense instead of practicing party politics and denying a problem, Clinton has also laid the groundwork for a possible presidential campaign by wife, Hilary Clinton, who is now expected to steer to the right of Obama in any future presidential run. Sensing that trend, current Democrats are beginning to distance themselves from Obama as they prepare for the next presidential election.
Not all politicians are behind the proposed new legislation. One day after questioning Obama’s extension of the canceled insurance policies, Washington D.C.’s insurance commissioner, William White, was fired. White had issued a statement via his department website complaining that any new law would hurt the exchanges and that adding exceptions to the current law would make it harder for them to function and could lead to a hike in premiums. The statement has been taken off of the website.
The White House has responded to Clinton’s remarks, stating during a press conference last Tuesday that Obama is in agreement with Clinton. With the broad effect of just one statement, Bill Clinton has shown how relevant he remains within American politics, even if his next title may be that of First Man.
By Jennifer Pfalz