Hillary Clinton offered a full-throated defense of Obamacare on Wednesday night but also expressed openness to changing President Obama's signature health care law.
The former secretary of state and early frontrunner for the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nomination said the law, despite some flaws that should be addressed, is working and it would be foolish to scrap it and start over.
“I think we are on the right track in many respects, but I would be the first to say if things aren't working then we need people of good faith to come together and make evidence-based changes,” Mrs. Clinton said, according to CNN.
She made her remarks at a Florida meeting of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. The event was closed to the press though anyone reportedly could buy a ticket and attend.
Mrs. Clinton, who pushed her own ambitious but ill-fated health-care reform agenda while first lady in the 1990s, specifically cited the problems small businesses are encountering under Obamacare. Companies moving employees from full-time to part-time hours in order to avoid providing insurance coverage, she said, is something that should be addressed.
But on the larger issue, Mrs. Clinton said it would be wrong to “throw the baby out with the bath” and stressed Obamacare can and should be refined so it works better for average Americans. Many of Mrs. Clinton's potential GOP rivals in 2016 have already vowed to "repeal and replace" Obamacare if elected.
“Part of the challenge is to clear away all the smoke and try to figure out what is working and what isn't,” Mrs. Clinton said, as quoted by CNN. “What do we need to do to try to fix this? Because it would be a great tragedy, in my opinion, to take away what has now been provided.”
Mrs. Clinton hasn't yet announced her 2016 plans, but she already has a grass-roots organizing and fundraising machine operating at full capacity. Early polling shows her far ahead of potential Democratic rivals such as Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley.
Mrs. Clinton also bests possible Republican opponents by significant margins, polling data show.
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