Former President Bill Clinton told Michigan Democrats attending the party’s Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner Saturday not to distance themselves from the president’s Affordable Care Act but to campaign on it.
Clinton, the keynote speaker at the party’s largest fund-raiser, told Democrats the key to victories in the fall is a get-out-the-vote effort to produce the same turnout seen in presidential election years, the Detroit Free Press reports.
More than 8 million Americans have signed up for the insurance via the federal marketplace – more than even the optimistic estimates, the Washington Post said. That, along with projections the health-care law will cost about $100 billion less over the next decade than initially projected, was enough for President Barack Obama to encourage Democratic candidates to campaign on the ACA’s success.
"I think Democrats should forcefully defend and be proud of the fact ...we're helping because of something we did,” Obama said.
Steve Elmendorf, a longtime Democratic Capitol Hill operative and now a Washington, D.C. lobbyist told the Washington Post “running away” from the ACA is a bad idea. “Sell it and sell it hard,” he aid.
Clinton echoed that advice Saturday
“One of the reasons no one in America has gotten any pay raise in a decade is we’re spending so much more on health care than our competitors,” Clinton said. “This was a working people’s bill.”
Bloomfield Township Democrat U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, who is running for an open seat, is campaigning on Obamacare – and taking heat for it in a multi-million-dollar ad buy by billionaires Charles and David Koch through their Americans for Prosperity super PAC.
Clinton thanked Peters for supporting the legislation, which the former president said has some problems that should be fixed. “Thank you for defending the Affordable Care Act and saying something good about it,” Clinton said.
“I did vote for the Affordable Care Act,” Peters said. “I voted for the Affordable Care Act because I believe in my heart and my soul that you are entitled to affordable quality health care. That’s what we do in the greatest country on Earth.”
The Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner was reportedly the largest ever, raising more than $500,000 for the November election.