Clinton: Obama should ‘honor commitment’ on keeping health plans
November 12th, 2013
11:53 AM ET
5 years ago

Clinton: Obama should ‘honor commitment’ on keeping health plans

Updated 11/12/2013 at 2:19pm ET

(CNN) – President Barack Obama has already apologized to Americans who lost their health plans under the Affordable Care Act. Now Bill Clinton is calling on his fellow Democrat to find a way to uphold an earlier vow that those who like their insurance plans can keep them.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," Clinton said during an interview with the website

Clinton did, however, spend much of the interview defending the 2010 health care overhaul.

"The big lesson is that we're better off with this law than without it," he said.

"The enrollment period didn't come off well because the national website wasn't ready," Clinton noted. "But this happened once before. It happened when President Bush put in the Medicare drug program for seniors, which was not as complicated, but had exactly the same problem with the roll out. It was a disaster. There were people that lost their prescriptions for their existing medicine. And they fixed it."

Obama agrees with Clinton's assessment, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

The President "has pledged to task his team" to find solutions for people who have lost their plans despite assurances made before the law's passage, Carney told reporters during the White House press briefing.

Carney also said – as administration officials have previously noted – that the initial Obamacare enrollment numbers will be released by the end of the week, and “will be lower than we hoped and we anticipated.”

Also wading into the controversy, former GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin had some much tougher words for Obama on Tuesday.

In an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper, Palin recalled statements Clinton made during the 2008 Democratic primaries, when the former president was stumping for his wife.

"I'll never forget Bill Clinton saying about Barack Obama and his story, his agenda, that it was the biggest fairy tale he'd ever seen," Palin said.

"And he was right, because Barack Obama was not qualified, he was not prepared, and the manifestation of that today is the problem that we see left and right in our economy," she added.

The full interview on "The Lead with Jake Tapper" will air at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

For his part, Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday that Clinton’s comments “signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could keep their coverage under President Obama’s health care law."

The House of Representatives is slated to vote later this week on a GOP-backed measure that would enact changes to Obamacare allowing insurance companies to continue offering individual plans that are currently being canceled because they don't meet the Affordable Care Act's standards for coverage.

While congressional Democrats are largely standing by the law, a number of them are trying to distance themselves from problems tied to the rollout. Among other things, some Democrats are pushing for an extension of the enrollment period or a delay in the penalty for not obtaining coverage.

Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said Tuesday it was a mistake for Obama to have not fully explained his comments on individuals being able to keep their plans.

"A couple more sentences added would clarify it," Durbin told CNN. "The President apologized. He said very clearly he was sorry if he misled people."

When Obama apologized last week to people who were losing their health coverage "based on assurances they got from me," he added that he was asking his advisers to look at ways in which the law could be altered.

"I've assigned my team to see what we can do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law, because, you know, my intention is to lift up and make sure the insurance that people buy is effective – that it's actually going to deliver what they think they're purchasing," Obama said.

Officials later said those changes could include administrative fixes to the law.

–CNN's Bryan Koenig and Sherisse Pham contributed to this report.

Filed under: Bill Clinton • Health care • Obamacare • President Obama
soundoff (357 Responses)
  1. jimmie

    Shows how NIEVE Clinton is – Obama is a pathological liar from day one.
    Americans VOTED for Obama, however, so NOW LIVE WITH IT !

    November 12, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Rahul

    I think there was an anticipation that there will be many new players in the marketplace and since the insurance makes money on the bulk, the pie will be smaller so I find that insurance companies designed the premiums with safety of profit in mind. so, for people who are still younger and healthy, most of the plans do seem to add some extra cost in overall premium for health insurance . Also, it seems that people in certain very low earning range are likely to lose coverage. I think that insurance companies have added some unknown cost of more competition in marketplace(losing a percentage of customers in the market place to new players or old competitors). However, I personally see that only the known big players are selling more and the reason is the reliability and familiarity of the provider networks which doesn't seem to be changing much. so, it may make sense to accommodate the classical plans as it could be a lost revenue to the companies if above assessment is correct. The above assessment would be verified when the market place sign-up data is released per provider etc.

    November 12, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. qa

    politicians don,t care about americans,,the democrates care more about non americans than americans...the politicans lie,,,,,,outsource your jobs for the rich........these guys don,t represent the people...they say they do...but they lie.....just a few riich corporations and rich masters...they are no good anymore to the people they represent..

    November 12, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. steven

    The government can't pass a budget and you want them to write a new healthcare law?

    November 12, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. qa

    bill and obama are complete opposites......obama does not care about americans...only the illegal

    November 12, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. tony

    Or die quickly under the repub plan

    November 12, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. ellamvaram


    November 12, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. humtake

    No, sorry, we are not better off with this healthcare insurance plan. Don't get me wrong, we are not worse off either. All this did was take one system that had many problems and too many moving parts and implemented a new plan that has many problems and too many moving parts. We will spend the next however long trying to fix the system, just like the old system, until something new comes along to replace it. But in the end, the people are not better off because of it. They face the same problems they did before except now they are forced to be a part of this legislation instead of having the option.

    In 10 years, we will still be dealing with the issues of this new system and there will be millions of people complaining about wrongdoings, greed, etc. The ONLY thing this did was change the administrator from the private sector to the public sector. There will be no reductions in health care insurance. There will be no reduction in actual health care costs. The insurance is still privately owned which means Obama is basically making the rich richer...something he false faces the country about that he doesn't do.

    November 12, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  9. Deez

    So, now you can keep the terrible plan that you should be getting rid of in the first place!

    November 12, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. JOSH

    My employees and myself have ound plans that are twice as good and half as expensive than my old ones...until the republicans can present o plan that allows no lifetime pre existing diseases rescinding when you get sick ..well care included then they should shut up ( of course Obamacare is their plan but why bring in facts into the debate) nad plus why is Sarah Palin quoted for anything ...a woman who could not find the US on a map and exposed as the worst most unqualified person to hold any public office

    November 12, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. Han

    It's time we realize that private insurance aren't the way to go. The so-called "free" market means insurance companies will do everything they can to charge more, and there is nothing government can do until we change to a universal single-payer system administrated by the government and paid by taxes.

    November 12, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  12. grovie

    I really don't understand why Bill Clinton is revered by large number of Americans and people around the world. He's partly responsible for much of the decline of the US over the last 30 years. It was under Bill Clinton that NAFTA was signed. It was Bill Clinton who did nothing to stem so called "free trade" and the resulting job losses and decline of the middle and working classes. And of course it was under his watch that Glass-Stegal was repealed.

    No, the guy is no Democrat, and he's no friend of the middle or lower class. He's a corporate Democrat, a Wall Street Democrat, a wolf in sheep's clothing. I wish he would just go away.

    Americans desperately need a latter day FDR. Maybe an Elizabeth Warren is what the country needs in the White House.

    November 12, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. Bert Bacharach

    "The President has pledged to task his team to find solutions" – a lot of words from Jay Geobbels Carney but none of them sound like "I will repeal this law based on lies because it is the honorable thing to do".

    November 12, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  14. ireuel

    "It's settled Law that has been upheld by the Supreme Court" I love to see when people say that, Why? becuase they are just repeating White house political hacks talking points. Yes that is true. It is Law, but it is the worse written law in history, crafted to fail so that we all end up with a generic heath care system that is one plan fits all. Then it has political appointees in a over-site office that decides what treatments are good and which are bad.No nothing can go wrong with that in the future. Also the thing has statements that allow the rules to change "AS NEEDED". Hence the 15000 pages of already written regulations. Pretty soon you will have political appointees deciding based on your political views as they did in the IRS. Now that whole thing should scare both sides of this political feud we have going on here in this country. Don't think just becuase it is called Obama-care, does not mean some Republican President in the future appoints a person to the panel and returns the favor. You know I was for this before I was against it and this thing is nothing it was sold to be. I do think it is what the writers of it want it to be, single payer generic government issued healthcare. PERIOD As a note to the Clintiestas clan, they to got thrown under that bus years ago and the current President could care less what they say or think. He is a lone Ranger on a mission that is all about him, not us. Hey OFA, get a job. A real job in the private sector. Get over it, LOL, kind of reminds me of the Move on dot nothing to see here Clinton gang.

    November 12, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  15. flyonthewall

    do yo naive? Your intelligence shows.......Yes, we voted for him, and shudder at the alternative. The economy is turning around (after years of free fall under bush). To bad you can't see how much better things have gotten.....always must be negative. Obama must fail at any expense....shame on you.

    November 12, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Norm

    "'ve assigned my team to see what we can do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law, because, you know, my intention is to lift up and make sure the insurance that people buy is effective – that it's actually going to deliver what they think they're purchasing," Obama said."

    This is the REAL lie. His intention is IN FACT to make people pay for benefits that they won't use so that money can be distributed to other people who's votes he's buying.

    November 12, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |

    Question was this not Hillary Care to begin with? Then Obama carried the torch that ignited this fire storm that is doing more harm than good? Seriously folks I am waiting on the next conversation INFLATION caused by company having to raise the prices on goods and services to cover the premium increase or wage increases for employees that pay their own insurance directly.

    November 12, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  18. hitman

    Smack, smack. Hear me talking now!

    November 12, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  19. tom l

    Oooooooohhhh! I think the Clintons better watch out. The IRS might be knocking on their door for an audit...

    November 12, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  20. atkoa

    This is the greatest man made disaster in the USA since the Civil War. Fraud.

    November 12, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    obama is not qualified to be president on top of his daily lies

    November 12, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. joe

    LOL. All I can I can do is LOL at our current Prez.. maybe SMH too. Sigh

    November 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  23. larry the conquerer

    yes, because if anyone is a good judge of the qualities needed to run a country, its Palin who didnt even know what her job wouldve been had she become vp, and who quit her elected position to better serve her country.

    November 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC


    @Rudy NYC ....get over the paying for birth control, or delivery. Women do not have prostates, they as a rule are not as likely to be involved in acts of violence, or gun violence ....i.e. as men; men have more injuries from attempting hair-brained stunts as women, they have a higher rate of heart disease and skin cancer than women. Besides how can anyone know what coverage they will need before the fact?
    A swing and a miss. Next time try responding to something that I actually wrote, instead of manufacturing a straw man argument that you've heard in the media.

    November 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. TheDude

    Hey Obama, You CAN take our HEALTHCARE but you CANT take our GUNS!

    Hope everyone is ready for all hospitals to turn out like military hospitals- where your lucky if they don't make the problem worse.

    November 12, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
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