Former President Bill Clinton called for an inclusive and collaborative approach to healthcare reform in his closing keynote address for the America's Health Insurance Plans AHIP Institute.
"Healthcare reform is not an end. It is a process," Clinton said in a keynote address that was closed to the media but widely discussed on Twitter using the #AHIPInstitute hashtag.
The former president called on attendees to embrace evidence-based medicine as a means to bend healthcare's cost curves and lauded Medicaid expansion as a means to keep health plan rate increases low. At the same time, he cited cybersecurity and broadband access as major technological challenges for healthcare to overcome.
Clinton also placed American efforts in a global context, noting that the United States is trying to reform an existing system at a time when many countries are simply trying to build a system.
This lack of access to healthcare, along with income inequality, disrupts global progress and growth, Clinton said: "Everyone has equal rights, but not equal chances."
Climate change and larger financial and government instability also threaten progress, the former president said. With these comments, Clinton echoed the themes that former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressed in his AHIP keynote.
In the current political environment, Clinton said, this isn't easy. "We are engaged in identity politics," he said. "Our differences trump everything else."
However, Clinton remained optimistic that the nation could overcome these differences. "I believe that we are in an era of radical inclusion. Our common humanities matter more."
The former president encouraged AHIP attendees to use inclusion and cooperation to bring about change, joking that the subhead for the U.S. Constitution could have been, "Let's make a deal."
Clinton encouraged attendees to continue their advocacy of the truth, no matter the political climate, and keep putting into place the reforms that do work well.
"Do whatever you can to build up the positive forces to overcome the negative ones," he said. "The job of every global citizen is to reinforce the positivity in our interdependence."
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