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Jim Kim Said Obama Lacks Leadership on Health Costs

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. Jim Kim, President Obama’s newly-appointed nominee to head the World Bank, has previously been openly critical of President Obama and the shortcomings in his administration’s health care law, which celebrates its two year anniversary Friday.

“There has to be presidential leadership in really tackling the problem of cost and quality in healthcare. We haven’t had it yet, we had it for access,” he said in an October 2011 interview with PBS’s Charlie Rose.

Kim, a physician by training who is considered an expert on global health systems, commented in response to a question about the issue he’d most like addressed by the field of presidential candidates during the 2012 campaign.

“I would love to see a presidential candidate or a president who really understands how critical healthcare is and how the current approach is not going to solve the problem,” Kim said. “Unfortunately, I think what is needed is an effort equivalent to what President Nixon did in starting the war on cancer; what President Bush did in his emergency plan for AIDS relief."

“Healthcare reform gave us access -- but now that next step, it is so complicated and it is so big that it is going to require presidential leadership and I would love to see how they [the candidates] are going to provide that,” he said.

The White House says the law -- known as the Affordable Care Act -- has meant 2.5 million more young adults have health insurance because they can remain on their parents’ plans and millions more Americans cannot be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions.

The administration also claims that more than 5 million seniors will see average savings of $600 a year on prescription drugs thanks to the law. And many preventive care services will now be required to be provided by insurers for free.

But since the law took effect, health insurance premiums and system costs overall have continued a brisk climb.

Kim, who is currently president of Dartmouth College, received a $35 million grant for the school to create a first of its kind Center for Healthcare Delivery Science, which is focused on studying ways to lower health costs across the country.

“It is a combination of a business school, an engineering school, the faculty of arts and sciences and a medical school. And what is interesting is all these people who have tremendous amounts to contribute to the healthcare debate have never been speaking to each other,” he told Rose last year.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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