Yesterday in a historic live national broadcast, one former President and the current President sat down to have an in-depth discussion on major changes in America’s health care system.
In the midst of this wonkish discussion between Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, Arkansas’s health care system came up a couple of times.
Former President Bill Clinton prompted Obama to talk about Arkansas’s health care system:
“Tell them about Arkansas, because we’re doing well down there.”
President Obama then spoke a few moments on a related topic that led him to say this:
“The second thing that’s happening is there are a couple of states — Arkansas is a good example; Kentucky is another good example; Idaho, interesting example — these are states where I just got beat. I mean, I do not have a big constituency in these states. (Laughter.) Well, I take that back. You know what, 40 percent is still a lot of people — but I’m losing by 20 percent in these states. But the governors were still able to say we’re going to set up our own state exchanges, their own marketplaces. And each state is just using their own name for it.”
Obama was referring to the Medicaid “private option” fashioned by the Arkansas General Assembly and Governor Mike Beebe. And because of the plan they crafted, tens of thousands of Arkansas’s working poor will have access to affordable health care that was previously unavailable.
Obama then alluded to the fact that the Arkansas Insurance Department released plans this week with premiums that came in lower than expected:
“And Arkansas just came out with its rates, and as has been true in virtually every single state, not only are premiums lower than they were, they’re a lot lower than even the most optimistic predictions were about how low they would be.”
I’m proud to see Arkansas’s health care system portrayed positively by two Presidents before a national audience.