November 5th, 2013
03:49 PM ET
12 months ago

WH: Obama 'can't go back' and change Obamacare vow

Washington (CNN) – The repeated vow from President Barack Obama that those who like their health insurance can keep it may be causing the administration grief – but it can't be changed now, Obama's press secretary conceded Tuesday.

"The President, as awesomely powerful as the office is, can't go back in time," Jay Carney said at his daily press briefing when asked by CNN whether Obama would "use those same words again."

"What the President's focus is on is what we are all focused on, which is getting this right for the American people," Carney said.

Obama's repeated promise in the days leading up to the Affordable Care Act's passage has come under intense scrutiny as some have customers have had their individual plans canceled. The White House says those plans don't meet the standards for insurance established under the Affordable Care Act – and that better options will be available on the new health care exchanges.

Obama further alters 'you can keep your plan' pledge

Yet many Americans can't get online to enroll as the federal government continues repair work on healthcare.gov. Carney admitted Tuesday the website problem was exacerbating the struggle to inform those who lose their plans what other options are available, saying Obama was "frustrated" by the hold-up.

"There is no question that the notices are going out and he's troubled by the fact that the website has made it a lot more difficult for those Americans to get the information that they need," he said.

Obama recalled his 2009 and 2010 promise again on Monday during a speech to supporters, adding the key detail that Americans could keep their insurance if the plan remained the same since he signed the measure into law.

"While virtually every insurer is offering new, better plans and competing for these folks' business, I realize that can be scary for people if you just get some notice like that," Obama said at a meeting of Organizing for Action.

Fact Check: If you liked your health plan, you can keep your health plan

He continued, "If you had or have one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was, you could keep it if hasn't changed since the law's passed."

–CNN White House Producer Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. freedom

    "The President, as awesomely powerful as the office is, can't go back in time,"

    Awesomely??? Oh yeah, he thought he could part waters and make the universe heal. Guess he finally realized he's human – and a very flawed one at that. And – everything is recorded – to play over and over again – just like Hilary's – "What difference does it make?!" Can't take that one back either -

    November 5, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Data Driven

    Down with Obamacare! I want my $59 premium back with no meds or hospital coverage! (Cf. McDonald's Corp.'s "plan")

    LOL, Sniffit, "you've gone from ludicrous speed to plaid"

    November 5, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. l.blair

    a born lair – it's that simple. lies about everything – always has. that's why it's so easy for him to do it with a straight face. it's how he got though life and all those who still support him will soon find themselves in a different country than the United States. unfortunately so will the rest of us. not to mention his deep seeded belief that he's above the law!
    how terrible was America before he became president? couldn't have been that bad because he did get elected. and to ruin the best – such as it was – socioeconomic system humans could devise in the name of helping the five to ten percent of those who did not have healthcare is illogical – on the surface at least. which gives credence to all those who maintain that it's was never about healthcare. at least healthcare is a noble subject. there is no doubt he's the least presidential of all.

    November 5, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  4. Chriskfla

    My question is why didn't they just address the people who needed coverage instead of screwing with everyone's plan? When they were originally coming up with this CNN Polls showed that over 80% of people were happy with what they had. They have no clue how a capitalistic market, which this country was founded on, actually works.

    November 5, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. Peg

    They always said the plan had to be grandfathered in to be kept. They always said that the law would significantly change plan requirements. So anyone who was not aware of all this was not paying attention, they said it all the time. Perhaps they said if you like your "insurer" you can keep them, rather than "insurance" just to be more clear about the fact that there was still going to be private insurance companies, which was the point they were making.

    November 5, 2013 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "the best...socioeconomic system humans could devise "

    Is that why it was producing the 37th best health care results and systems in the world?

    November 5, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. tom l

    "When you see 18 different posts using the same exact phraseology and lack of punctuation, the same talking points regurgitated in the exact same manner"

    Prove it. Just make sure there's no "swiss cheese" in your proof. Hopefully you caught that the exact same thing happens on your side or is it just a coincidence that everyone on the left is saying that he "technically didn't lie" (or some derivation of that) or that he is making you upgrade your crappy plan. Good grief. You just don't get it. Just remain in your echo chamber since that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But know this, the president lied. He lied. He lied. How can everyone (other than only the farthest of left people such as yourself) say that we were misled and duped by his IYLYPYCKI? Get a grip, dude. It's so painfully obvious that the only thing that is laughable is reading the twisting and turning of the Great Sniffit.

    November 5, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. DENNA

    The only mistake that President Obama made was trusting the insurance companies not to screw up the works. I think that it's worth mentioning that the GOP are the biggest hypocrites on the planet. First they darn near destroy the country trying to defund ACA, now they are ticked that the website did not work. In other words, they cannot even "enjoy" the problems the program is having. GOP = mentally insane.

    November 5, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  9. luke

    "What the President's focus is on is what we are all focused on, which is getting this right for the American people," Carney said.

    Golly, you guys are doing a WHIZBANG job so far......The only thing the morons on the left seem to be focused on is playing the blame game and going out of their way to dodge any and all responsibility for foisting the biggest joke in American history on their meal tickets...(that's us taxpayers for you slower liberals.)

    Hows that hopey changey BS working for you?

    November 5, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Abbey

    Why can't he go back? The voters who elected him and his progressive hillbilly agenda are the ones to blame. Face it America, being stupid is no excuse in life.

    November 5, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. al

    President Obama now says he never promised voters they could keep their health insurance plans, “period.” Talking to top backers of his permanent campaign arm, Organizing for Action, at a Washington meeting Monday night, the president made a new claim: “What we said was, ‘You could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.’”

    November 5, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Babyboomer

    Everything that is going on right now with the ACA is ugly. From the failures of the website to the fact that people's policies are now being cancelled by the insurance companies. I do wish the President had been more clear about what would happen to those low end, minimum coverage policies and what the folks who have them would need to do going forward but what's done is done. What we have to do is go forward and make things better.

    As for those of you who are calling for impeachment, you need to get over yourselves. Unless and until we arrest and put Chaney and Bush on trial for 2 horrific wars that nearly bankrupted the United States, we just need to get on with the business of rebuilding our economy, finding more decent paying jobs (on shore) and improving the ACA. There is no need to waste more tax payer dollars on what ultimately would be nothing more than political grandstanding.

    November 5, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "My question is why didn't they just address the people who needed coverage instead of screwing with everyone's plan? "

    Because part of the problem were some of those other peoples' plans. This wasn't just about plugging a hole. If all you do is plug the hole, but the rest of the dam is already overly stressed and of shoddy workmanship, you just spring another hole somewhere else and risk the whole damn being compromised.

    November 5, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    No, but he would sure like to blame it on other people, and not take possession of the lie, himself.

    November 5, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    @Chriskfla – My question is why didn't they just address the people who needed coverage instead of screwing with everyone's plan?
    ---------------------------------–
    While I'm sure Dubya had the best of intentions with his Iraqi WMD's, I doubt Obama was any different. What we have and are seeing is the "unintended consequences" and "collateral damage" caused by the insurance companies sticking it to the populus (as they have done for MANY yrs) and blaming it on ACA. I seriously doubt Obama expected these companies to be "screwing with everyone's plan".. which incidentally they are not.. and both sides of the political spectrum are using edge cases to their advantage. The GOP talking heads have rolled out folks who've been shafted, who turn out to never having been on the ACA site and not needing to anyway... there are plenty of folks who DO NOT HAVE TO SIGN UP.. they (like Congress + POTUS) are covered by their employers.. My plan went up some.. but all else remained the same .. as it did for the 40,000+ employed at my company.. I would say (based on conversations with friends – and I LIVE in a red state) that most NYSE-type companies are doing the same..

    November 5, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Hows that hopey changey BS working for you?"

    Just fine thanks. That Obama misstated and overstated his case about 3% of people keeping their plans hasn't changed anything whatsoever about how everyone has known the law would work for the past 3 years and how it would effect an extremely small percentage of plans. You see, this misstatement was all over the news 3 years ago and the only reason it's getting redundant big play in the MSM right now is because the GOP/Teatrolls want it to. But hey, it still changed nothing about how the law actually works, and it will work, as will the website...which is partly why the GOP/Teatrolls have pivoted to this ranting and raving over something Obama said: the website issue wouldn't last very long because it WILL get fixed and then what will they have to rant and rave about if that's all they and the MSM focused on?

    November 5, 2013 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Correct Dutch.
    The man misspoke, we're moving on with or without some of you.
    Not everybody can come to the party anyways.

    November 5, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. jpmichigan

    What ever was the Presidents intentions they backed fired on the American people who had healthcare that thy wanted and could afford. No the President won't take back what he said, nor would he for it sells his ideas and got him re-elected by the 51% who depend on the government. The rest of the working class, rich and elderly pay, pay, pay some more. Vote out the Democrats that passed the bill they never read, put in more Republicans to change the ACA law or get rid of it and have enough to over ride the Presidents threatened veto.

    November 5, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  19. Lynda/Minnesota

    @ Dominican mama:

    "The man misspoke, we're moving on with or without some of you."

    Amen.

    November 5, 2013 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  20. davecu

    "Al Jazeera is the first news organization to report these figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which were released late in October.

    The median wage — half of workers make more, half less — came to $27,519 last year, virtually unchanged from 2011. Measured in 2012 dollars, the median wage was down $4.

    The 2012 median wage was at its lowest level since 1998, when the median stood at $26,984"

    Al-Jazeera has a better grasp on our economy than our leaders..
    The shame!

    November 5, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Prove it. Just make sure there's no "swiss cheese" in your proof"

    Oh get bent Tom. I pointed out sockpuppets yesterday or last week or whatever. If I spent my time doing that here, I'd be doing nothing else. I'd much rather focus on posting actual information for people and correcting consistently incorrect memes, canards and talking points repeatedly coming out of your RWNJ mouths. As for "get a grip," I'm not the one throwing a crybaby hissy fit and calling people names because they won't agree with me that it was an outright lie. I've consistently agreed that what Obama said was a gross overstatement and that he should have more accurately provided the appropriate caveats. I've also pointed out that it truly changes absolutely nothing: the ACA is law, it's not going away, we've known it would have this affect since its inception, it effects a miniscule percentage of people/plans and it doesn't change the manner in which everyone has been analyzing the law for the past 3 years and how they've explained it will function...not CBO, not other experts, nobody. We also know you feel like this is your big shot at a "gotcha" to get back at having to put up with everyone stuffing it in the right wing's face that Bush lied about Iraq's WMDs...so yippee for you...golfclaps all around...you think you're having your revenge...but the "lies" involved in those two situations are substantively different in both their nature and effect, and most rational folks understand that.

    November 5, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. msindependent

    We'll remember the Lies. We've heard him repeat "if you like your insurance you can keep it" for a long, long time now!

    November 5, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  23. Logic_Is_Not_Common_Sense

    What happened to his famous "let me be clear" line in almost all of his speeches. I get he forgot it during the many, many times he said you could keep your plan.

    November 5, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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