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Larry Summers: Support of Obamacare 'Patriotic'

Image: Larry Summers: Support of Obamacare 'Patriotic'

By    |   Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 12:16 PM

Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says "the patriotic place to be" for Americans is in support of Obamacare, which he maintains is under attack by an "organized constituency" that wants to see it fail.

In an appearance Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Summers acknowledged that the Obamacare rollout "should have been managed much better" because "it's really important, as a country, that we get this right."

But he stressed that after multiple failed attempts by Republicans to repeal it and an unsuccessful challenge in the Supreme Court aimed at killing it, "the patriotic place to be is in support of implementing it."

"Then we should watch and see what happens and make whatever decisions we can from that," said Summers, who was also director of the White House National Economic Council from 2009 through 2010.

Summers also said that when President Barack Obama first started considering healthcare reform, the options on the table included a single payer and Medicare-for-all system. He said the president chose the path that was "most oriented to preserving the status quo" for people who liked the current system and wanted to keep their present coverage.

He also stressed that Obamacare is doing something that "hasn't been done in 50 years," which is succeeding in bending "the curve on healthcare costs." He also pointed to the millions of Americans already benefitting from the law, including children who are able to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26 and the millions of Americans newly enrolled in Medicaid.

Summers predicted that history in the end would probably not record that Obamacare had problems early on, but that America built a healthcare program to include everyone.

"My bet is that this (rollout problem) is not going to be in history books 25 years from now. And, the fact that America joined the realm of every other industrialized country in having health insurance for all its people, is going to be in the history books 25 years from now," he said.

Former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough, the host of "Morning Joe," said the success of the law would depend on whether the current problems turn out to be insurmountable and whether the president can forget about the "ground noise" of opposition and make changes to ensure that people can keep their current coverage plans.

"Are you going to be seen as a leader that is seen as keeping his promise or breaking his promise? If you choose to keep your promise, then you live to fight another day," he said.

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Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers says the patriotic place to be for Americans is in support of Obamacare, which he maintains is under attack by an organized constituency that wants to see it fail.
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Wednesday, 13 Nov 2013 12:16 PM
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