U.S. Rep. John Larson said Tuesday that the Affordable Care Act is the “law of the land,” and holds the key to both lowering national debt and economic recovery.

The Democratic congressman said the solution to safe and secure health care lies “right within our financial services and with our insurance industry,” both state and nationwide.

“If you’re not for the Affordable Care Act, what are you for?” Larson asked the audience gathered at The Hartford Club event sponsored by The New England Council and the MetroHartford Alliance.

Just the day before, Connecticut’s health insurance exchange — a signature component of the healthcare law — suffered a blow when Aetna, one of four companies planning to sell insurance on the exchange, withdrew.

Larson called the American healthcare system “the most inefficient business in the world,” because its share of America’s economy is one of the largest on the globe. He said the share is decreasing because of the ACA.

Reducing the amount of resources going to healthcare would “lower the deficit, pay off national debt, have a focus that is patient-centered through coordinated care that is focused on the outcome per patient,” would lead to an increase in jobs and an economic recovery, he said.

Larson also said Congress is on a “collision course with reality” and the partisan divide has become an “unhealthy” ideological divide.

The ACA will allow politicians to confront issues “in a straightforward way that says, ‘you know what, both Republicans and Democrats have got it wrong,” he said.

“Let’s help this economy out,” Larson said. “What irony, that the key to it is the Affordable Care Act and everybody pulling together.”

He said the ACA is “not a perfect piece of legislation” so Congress will continue to work toward improving the bill.

Larson said President Barack Obama should use his executive power to make sure the world “will not see an ideological tail wag the dog of the United States of America.”

“There’s too much at stake in terms of national security, our economy, in our stability, in our standing in the world,” he said. “But let us hope that we can all come together as a nation.”

Larson also touched on the “potential” for industry and manufacturing in the New England region, saying that if people were willing to work together, “all the world’s money — or a good deal of it — would park itself here where we have the vast potential to move forward.”

Jordan Otero is a summer 2013 Yankee Institute journalism intern. She is a senior studying journalism at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She lives in Southington.