By ELICIA DOVER
LITTLE ROCK-Former President Bill Clinton came to Little Rock Wednesday at the request of President Obama. His mission was to explain the Affordable Care Act to not only Arkansas but the country.
"I have agreed to give this talk today because I'm still amazed how much misunderstanding there is," Clinton said.
A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, published Aug. 28 found 51 percent of Americans said they don't have enough information about the Affordable Care Act to understand it. More troublesome for the Obama Administration, 44 percent were confused about the law's status, many unknowing if the law had been repealed.
Far from the "off the cuff" Clinton speech fashion, he told the crowd he wrote the entire speech down. He explained the new law could have benefits for Arkansas, a state which has opted to receive the increased funding for Medicaid.
"What does this mean for Arkansas? Where nearly 500,000 people are uninsured, including about 25 percent of our working age people, 1 in 4. Well, 865,000 no longer have lifetime limits, more than 32,000 seniors have seen a reduction in drug price, 35,000 people are now covered on their parents plans," Clinton said.
Clinton instructed people to go to the website Arkansas Health Connector to get signed up.
"You just pay what the website tells you to pay," Clinton said. "You just shop for the best policies. Bronze, silver gold and platinum. It's like the Olympics."
Clinton said whether or not Arkansans agreed with the law, Arkansas would have to pay for it. Critics of the speech said Clinton only highlighted what good the law would do for Arkansas, but not the negative effects it could have.
"I think it's going to be a job killer in Arkansas. While President Clinton did a good job saying some of the positives of the law, I think some of the negatives got lost," said Grant Hodges, 23, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas.
Hodges receives his insurance through his employer. One supporter, from Hot Springs on Medicare said she was not concerned about the new law's effect on her healthcare.
"This something our country needs and something our state definitely needs," said Marsha Scott of Hot Springs.