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At Clinton Global Initiative, Obama Sticks Up For Health Care Law

Asks Americans To Keep An Open Mind
Former President Bill Clintonspeaks with President Barack Obama on stage during the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 24, 2013 in Midtown. (credit: Getty Images)

Former President Bill Clintonspeaks with President Barack Obama on stage during the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting on Sept. 24, 2013 in Midtown. (credit: Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Saying attacks on his health care overhaul are mostly political, President Barack Obama asked Americans to keep an open mind as the enrollment period for plans nears, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.

In an onstage conversation with former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in Midtown, President Barack Obama asked people to tune out the critics. On Oct. 1, uninsured Americans can start shopping for health care plans through state-run online marketplaces.

“What we’re saying is just look for yourself,” Obama said. “And you will discover that this is a good deal for you.”

The president said insurance rates that are being offered are lower than those initially projected. He said he believes healthy young adults will end up paying less than they do for their cellphone bills.

Obama added that it is vital for younger Americans to participate in the program to spread out the risk for insurers. Those who do not have health insurance will be required to pay a penalty.

Obama said he acknowledged that the plan was not very popular, but he blamed that on a reluctance for Americans to embrace change.

“The devil you know is always better than the devil you don’t know,” he said from his cellphone while still waiting.

Clinton felt free to point out some of the drawbacks in the law’s implementation, while making clear that Obama was not the one to blame. For example, he noted that the Supreme Court said states could not be forced to take Medicaid money to finance the expansion of health coverage.

“That’s going to lead to a cruel result, and there’s nothing the president can do, and it’s not his fault. That’s what the Supreme Court said,” Clinton said.

The hourlong appearance marks the start of a concerted campaign by the Obama administration and its allies to inform consumers about their options under the law. It also took place around the 20th anniversary of Clinton’s address to a joint session of Congress calling for an overhaul of the health care system. That effort, by Clinton and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was unsuccessful.

Hillary Clinton, who ran against Obama before becoming his first-term secretary of state, introduced the two presidents.

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