Clinton: Obama should ‘honor commitment’ on keeping health plans
November 12th, 2013
11:53 AM ET
4 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. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote on page 5:

    Ah yes... pay for a quintupling of the Medicare rolls by doubling the funding. That there is called liberal math.
    Let's decrease the annual budget deficit by cutting taxes and decreasing our revenue. That there is called voodoo economics
    And that there is the bait and switch you're always accusing others of.

    "Nice try, but you got yourself".

    November 12, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. NameFrank Deery

    This from an impeached President, who lied to a
    Grand Jury and ruined his wife's 2008 campaign with stupid remarks in So Carolina!
    Now, he is "the Shadow President" to an
    Inept President, who has, to quote Hillary: "
    careened from crisis to crisis" in his tenure.
    Not only is Obamacare-less a disaster, but ditto our foreign policy, with both Russia and now France filling voids-Obama cannot deal with.

    I have a better solution, Democrats! Pressure
    "Mr Change" to resign and let Biden do it!
    He knows Congress, the world, and would not have let Boston and Benghazi happen-and won't have those on his resume in 2016.
    A wasted talent-and I am a Republican.

    The Clintons are the Bonnie and Clyde of today's politics, though aging rapidly. In ideas and appearance. Biden , older, is an honest
    resource-one we need now.

    Progressive Democrats are over! Obama allowed A Canadian IT company to do his Health Care website. At 600million in taxpayer money-and even-finally with Silicon
    valley pals involved, a disaster!

    Time for a real "game change" at the Perk-loving White House!

    November 12, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. ugh

    Bill Clinton (despite all his shortcomings) has a brain – I respect him for that. Obama is a disaster! It shows just how badly the Whitehouse has gone in the last 5 years.

    November 12, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. rufus

    Ha, ha. One liar giving advice to another.

    November 12, 2013 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Taken4granted

    Lying to the American public and later trying to fix it by apologizing, does not give relief to all who have received their cancellations. To top that, fixing it for a year and forcing those people to switch to ACA will just fuel the anger. Even though it is just 5% of the population. It is a BIG number of the population. It is like saying only 2% of the population are gays, but Obama forced himself to accept the ideology that marriage is for everyone to capture what he promised during election.

    November 12, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. haaaasry

    it is OBAMAS fault that insurance's are canceling plans. WHY? Because if the plan doesnt cover delivery and other such things that they dont cover, it doesn't qualify as an insurance plan according to the ACA. They wouldnt cancel them if it wasnt for the restrictions, that is why people cant keep their plans! What if people who get a new plan, dont want anymore kids? what if they dont plan on having kids(which, in this case, their kids cant have kids cause they dont have kids and so on(since your kids can stay on your insurance plan up to 26))? Doesn't it suck to pay for crap you don't intend to use? Hey people, lets buy poop because we don't need it.......

    November 12, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. NorCalMojo

    This can only mean one thing. Bill Clinton has become a racist Tea Party obstructionist.

    November 12, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Robin Jones

    " it was a mistake for Obama to have not fully explained his comments on individuals being able to keep their plans." If the President was aware of the problem, which the evidence indicates he was, then this was not just an ordinary mistake – it was intentional for the very purpose of misleading people who would otherwise have reacted just as they are now doing. He earned every bit of the punishment he's now receiving for that deceit.

    November 12, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. FlipFlopper

    Obama is a flip flopper. He'll never stick to a promise if it doesn't benefit him in some way. Look at his promise to the medical marijuana industry. For the first couple years, Obama had more DEA raids than Bush when he originally promised to stop all raids! What a filthy liar.

    November 12, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. MCFx

    Liberals should really make up their minds. Is it...
    a) Insurance companies are cancelling policies that were shams and weren't worth the paper they were printed on.


    b) Insurance companies are just cancelling people they didn't want.

    Pick one story and stick to it instead of throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what will stick.

    November 12, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. ECassious2


    Your statement is categorically false.

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

    @Rudy-Uh yeah, people shouldn`t be forced to upgrade for something they don`t want or need. To make it simple for you, its like forcing a person who lives on top of a moutain to have flood insurance. Doesn`t make sense.

    November 12, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  13. mpgunner

    So he did lie?

    And what does Palin have to do with this? NOTHING

    November 12, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. George T Hibs

    If you were dumb enough to vote for Obama, you got just what you deserve. How's that hopey changey feeling now? Obama's LIE is STILL posted on the White House Web site under the Affordable Care Act! DAH!!!!!!!!

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

    Well now that Hillary no longer works for Obama, impeached President Clinton feels free to take of the mask and let us know what we've always known, he doesn't like Obama. While I might agree with what Clinton is saying, it would be better for him to follow the examples of Presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush and not criticize a siting president. I don't think it's helpful.

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

    It still doesn't change the fact that Healthcare is "NOT AFFORDABLE". It doesn't change the fact that "Temp Employees" are still screwed.

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

    A political gesture to separate Hillary from Barack. It would be impossible to resurrect those plans at this point without getting them all re-approved by state insurance boards and basically sinking Obamacare doing it.

    November 12, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  18. Alan

    Please don't compare Obama to Gove Palin – she was a very successful Governor. Obama's never succeeded at anything. You can compare Obama to the Mayor of Toronto – since both have the same habits and failures.

    November 12, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  19. jack

    Obama needs to keep his promise by helping those who's policy was cancelled and let them keep it or get something as close to it as possible without costing more. They should also be able to keep their doctor or healthcare provider.

    November 12, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  20. Reggie

    Clinton said: "The big lesson is that we’re better off with this law than without it..." well the lesson so far is not what you think Mr. Clinton, as to what the big lesson it will turn out, let's wait and assess it in a few years possibly decades...

    November 12, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Big Joe

    "Make good on your promise or I won't get to live in the White House again."

    November 12, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Mankylad

    Hmm....first salvo from the Clinton Camp?

    November 12, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Bill

    Ms. Palin: Shut your pie hole. Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

    November 12, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Sneed Hearn

    Sarah Palin calling Obama not qualified and not prepared defines hubris. Or clinically delusional. The larger issue is that she's serious.

    November 12, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Sum guy

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

    The big lesson is that some of us are better off with this law than without it. That's how a robin hood law works.

    November 12, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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