President Barack Obama discussed the state of healthcare, the most critical qualities for being an effective leader and the effects of social media at the Klick Ideas Exchange, held Thursday night in Brooklyn.

In a conversation with Klick Group co-founder and chairman Leerom Segal, Obama also weighed in on factors driving the healthcare industry and how America has changed since he was first elected in 2008.

The conversation addressed one of Obama’s key legislative accomplishments: the Affordable Care Act, which expanded healthcare coverage to millions and has stood up in the face of several repeal attempts. Obama said that passing the law was a difficult task, as it required shifting America away from an employer-sponsored healthcare system toward one that would cover those who were uninsured or underinsured. 

“We had to build a platform so that people who weren’t getting healthcare through their jobs, or were independent contractors or between jobs, could have some basic healthcare security,” he said. 

There is still more work to be done to solidify the coverage gains made through the ACA, Obama added, though he praised President Biden and his administration for shoring up subsidies that expand options for patients.

Looking toward the future, Obama praised the potential of younger people to take the reins of power, noting that the Obama Foundation is set up to support the next generation of leaders. He urged older generations to be willing to consider ideas from up-and-coming thinkers and challenge the status quo. 

While praising technology and social media for encouraging more engagement from citizens in political discourse, Obama warned about the downsides of misinformation. He compared the trajectory of modern technology to the principles of the scientific method, urging more critical consideration of ideas circulated on social channels.

“The changes in our information technology have amplified or empowered those who want to challenge authority,” he said. “That can be appealing but in the theory of our democracy and the First Amendment, we have a marketplace of ideas where you have certain rules for determining what’s true and what’s not. By following those rules, we ultimately think we’ll find a better outcome.” 

In addition to topics of note to the medical marketing industry, Obama also touched on the dangers of climate change, the implications for businesses navigating a post-COVID landscape and the experience of raising two daughters while serving as president of the United States.

The conversation with Obama was preceded by a presentation from philanthropist Michael Milken and followed by a performance by Tiësto.