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Mitch Perry Report for 10.11.12 — Bill Clinton comes back to Tampa Bay

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Bill Clinton comes to Pinellas County tonight, after two earlier scheduled events in Palm Beach County and Fort Myers, and the question is: will he make news?

The 42nd president of the United States got himself and his wife’s campaign into all types of hot water when he “blasted” the Affordable Care Act last week, though a closer look at his words show his stance isn’t radically different than what Hillary Clinton has been saying on the stump — though certainly not as bluntly.

“The current system works fine if you’re eligible for Medicaid, if you’re a lower-income working person, if you’re already on Medicare, or if you get enough subsidies on a modest income that you can afford your healthcare,” he said. “But the people that are getting killed in this deal are small-business people and individuals who make just a little too much to get any of these subsidies. Why? Because they’re not organized, they don’t have any bargaining power with insurance companies, and they’re getting whacked. So you’ve got this crazy system where all of a sudden, 25 million more people have healthcare and then the people that are out there busting it — sometimes 60 hours a week — wind up with their premiums doubled and their coverage cut in half. It’s the craziest thing in the world.”

The fact of the matter is, there ARE problems with the ACA, and only the most partisan Democrat could say otherwise.

The argument about how to fix it has been stuck in such partisanship, since House Republicans have insisted for years there is no way to fix the situation, but instead it should be repealed outright. That couldn’t happen under a President Obama (or President Clinton), but what about under a President Trump?

In The Atlantic last week, reporter Julie Rovner listed a series of actions Trump could do to undermine the law, though he could not on his own outright repeal it.

A new Trump administration “really could collapse the federal exchange marketplace and the state exchanges if they end cost-sharing” payments to insurers, said Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of law and health policy at George Washington University in Washington D.C. Another way to undermine the law would be to not enforce its various provisions, especially the individual mandate.

Of course, it’s not looking good on the Trump train four weeks out, but the question is: if the Republicans still control one of the two branches of Congress, would they be willing to work with the Democrats in agreeing on some corrections? The American economy is at stake in this discussion, but in this fact-free political debate this fall, it’s rarely being talked about.

Maybe Bill Clinton did do everybody a favor, after all, in getting Democrats to more publicly admit the law needs fixes. But it takes two parties to make anything happen in Washington, and that hasn’t been happening at all in recent years.

In other news …

Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards paid a visit to the USF campus, where she told a group of mostly female students that as part of the millennial demographic, they will decide the next POTUS.

Patrick Murphy is calling Marco Rubio a “coward” for refusing to renounce Trump after his 11-year-old recording of lascivious comments went global on Friday.

Both Murphy and Rubio have released new Spanish-language television commercials; Rubio leads Murphy among Latinos in Florida, thanks to much better name recognition.

A Pinellas tea party group has produced a list of candidates they’re endorsing for next month’s election, and David Jolly appears to be the only Republican not on the list.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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