ABCs of the ACA: Bill and Barack Explain it all for You

Sep 27, 2013, 11:21 AM, Posted by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Risa Lavizzo-Mourey Robert Wood Johnson Foundation President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, MPH

RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey took part in a panel discussion at Tuesday's Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, and that was quite an honor. But, she writes in a recent blog post on the professional social networking site LinkedIn, the highlight of the day was what happened after the panel discussion: a presentation by presidents No. 42 and 44—Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. The two leaders delivered a clear explanation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and its implications for the future of the country.

And what they explained, Lavizzo-Mourey adds, was incredibly helpful, as the two presidents cut through all the background noise surrounding this clearly polarizing issue.

Health care spending is a drag on the economy, and the two presidents drove home that point. All of that spending has a measurable impact on everyday economic life, Lavizzo-Mourey says, affecting even the cost of a new car. For every new car built by America's iconic auto makers, Ford and General Motors, she writes, you can add to the price tag $2,000 in hidden health care costs. Lavizzo-Mourey concludes: "It is critical for our nation's future economic wellbeing that we fix health care."

The law in its current incarnation probably isn't perfect, Lavizzo-Mourey admits, but it's here, and we'll learn how to make it better. "The ACA is one of the most important pieces of legislation to come out of Congress in a generation," Lavizzo-Mourey writes, "and if history is a guide we know the law will be further refined and improved once its impact can be discerned."

That said, she adds: "I’m looking forward to going back to the Clinton Global Initiative a few years from now to talk about the good we can do for people with the money we once spent on health care."

PBS NewsHour videotaped the exchange. It's available below. Lavizzo-Mourey recommends you watch it. And you can read the transcript here on Politico.

President Obama and President Clinton Talk Health Care Reform