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‘You Can’t Have Perfection’: Lawmakers Who Forged ACA Look Back

Former Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and former Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and George Miller (D-Calif.) and retiring Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.) led the five key committees that pushed the Affordable Care Act toward its passage in 2010.

They joined Kaiser Health News’ Julie Rovner during a session at the annual Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado to discuss the partisan battles over the ACA, how their efforts in Congress differed from an earlier effort by the Clinton administration to revamp health care, and the problems that arose because they couldn’t get a bill through Congress to make corrections to the ACA.

They note the high price their party paid for implementing the law and the deep disagreement it sparked in the country about the role of government.

The former lawmakers agreed that they don’t think the law is perfect or meets all their hopes. While the bill generated intense opposition from conservatives during its initial debate, they said, they felt they could not give up. Their efforts to revamp health care were the foundation that future generations can build on, they said.

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