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White House Defends 'Obamacare' After Bill Clinton Calls It 'Craziest Thing'

WH spokesman says Obama remains "proud" of his signature health care initiative.

ByABC News
October 4, 2016, 4:05 PM

— -- The White House is defending President Barack Obama's signature health care initiative after former President Bill Clinton recently described the rise in premiums and cuts in coverage that some face as the "craziest thing in the world."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said "of course" the administration wished Clinton had chosen different words to describe "Obamacare."

"It's not exactly clear to me what argument he was making, and so I'll let him and his team explain that," Earnest said in today's briefing.

Earnest added that Obama remains "proud" of the Affordable Care Act.

"The president's quite proud of the accomplishment of the Affordable Care Act. The American people benefit from the way the law has been implemented in terms of expanding coverage, in terms of limiting the growth in health care costs, but also in terms of the many consumer protections that people who already had health insurance in the past now benefit from," Earnest said.

"President Obama has of course acknowledged that, with cooperation from Democrats and Republicans in Congress, there are some things that could be done to further strengthen the law," he added. "That's something that Secretary [Hillary] Clinton has vowed to pursue if she is elected president of the United States, and President Obama is certainly going to do everything he can to support that effort."

At a campaign rally in Flint, Michigan, on Monday, Bill Clinton discussed how insurance premiums have risen under the Affordable Care Act.

"You've got this crazy system where all of a sudden 25 million more people have health care and then the people are out there busting it sometimes 60 hours a week wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half," he said Monday. "It's the craziest thing in the world."

His remarks put Hillary Clinton's campaign on the defense today. The campaign maintained that Bill Clinton is a supporter of "Obamacare."

His press secretary, Angel Urena, told ABC News that the former president's comments are being taken out of context and that he was referring to out-of-pocket costs associated with "Obamacare" that affect small-business owners.

"President Clinton spoke about the importance of the Affordable Care Act and the good it has done to expand coverage for millions of Americans. And while he was slightly short-handed, it's clear to everyone, including President Obama, that improvements are needed," said Urena. "That's why Secretary Clinton has proposed measures including tax relief to cover excessive out-of-pocket costs, a public option and Medicare buy-in for those over 55. She'll build on the progress we've made by increasing competition, choice, affordability and the number of Americans with insurance."