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. BJam

    I guess trying to make sure all Americans have health insurance is much more of a national crises than the government shutdown.

    November 12, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    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.
    That there is the "bait and switch" you always piss and moan about.

    "Nice try, but you got yourself."
    Fail. A bait and switch is a proper response to a bait and switch. It's called flipping it back at cha'.

    November 12, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. NotSurprised

    LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE . . . GOOD THING HE CAN'T RUN AGAIN . .the country will be ruined by then.

    November 12, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. 1Johnny

    Without a doubt, CNN has become more gossip than news. Just read the front page? Some NBA player posing in his underware? Please CNN, try to remember the days of real journalism!

    November 12, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  5. BO

    It's to late Bill. What the heck?

    November 12, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. c me

    The Clinton camp distancing itself from the disaster so they look better in 2016.

    November 12, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. jerry

    Obama seems to have made a career of telling lies and half truths, even in his books. So, this is business as usual. Problem for Obama is now THE WORLD is watching, not just a few stary eyed cool-aid drinkers. So, mr. slickster, now what...perhaps do something other than make speeches, like lead?

    November 12, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Andrew

    The issue of health care for both parties is a high cost. What neither party has said about regulation of health care cost from mixed high premiums to the cost of an aspirin. The high cost of a doctor visit at up to $200.00 or the large amount of money going to drug industries. Whether it's Obamacare or Romneycare the public does not win nor is there a compromise in favor of the public. Seems more like if you are poor left or right die off and soon.

    November 12, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. David

    Obama would lie if the truth was easier. Dont change him now. Just change the dumbbed down mentality of the American voter and we may survive.

    November 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  10. MorePeopleInExchanges

    Let anyone who wants into the exchange come in-but not subsidized. Illegal immigrants pay taxes, get insurance, use resources. Let them pay for insurance coverage and offload the emergency rooms for uncompensated care and take the load off local resources.

    November 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. southerngent

    Even the most liberal of you know that obamacare was not designed to benefit anyone but instead was a (hurry up while we still have the numbers) payback for the failed attempt during the Clinton years and to ensure a victory for Obama in the last election. The problem now is obamacare is law and even if the democrats allow people to keep their plan obamacare has cost insurance companies millions, forcing them to increase rates. This extreme intrusion of government on the people of America means there will be less money to help people, since higher premiums means less for our immediate needs and higher deductibles mean we must put back more in case it is needed. I'm sorry, but no one said life is fair, my family and my own needs come first.

    November 12, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  12. Mike

    SIMPLE TRUTH: The very premise of Obamacare is that, in order for the nation to be able to afford to ensure ALL Americans are covered for all potential healthcare needs, regardless of preexisting conditions, you have to have the financial participation (that means everybody gotta pay in, surrrr) of the entire nation.

    This is precisely what those "crazy, radical, racist conservatives" have been saying all along. The ignorant mass of Americans CHOSE to believe that Santabama was gonna give them something for free. YAY!!! Have a party!!! Santabama delivers more free gifts!!! WooHoo!!!

    Problem is, that was never, ever true. Ask yourself: this guy graduated from Harvard Law and was a law fricking professor at University of Chicago Law AND Harvard Law. Do you REALLY think he's that shallow and naïve to have not known EXACTLY what his own healthcare "reform" law said?

    Come on, people!!! Wake the frick up!!! This guy read the entire law and made sure that everything he wanted was in there, and this federal mandate that requires plans to meet a certain standard – with the accompanying price tag – is part and parcel to the overall plan to "cover all Americans."

    One wonders how much time Americans spend reading any more, versus watching reality TV and YouTube, and spending half their free time updating their social media profiles. Anyone with half a brain (an admittedly miniscule number of Americans) could have seen this is precisely what was going to happen.

    Conservatives called it, and the rest of the country stomped them for their cold heart and being completely out of touch. Don't believe me? Just Google it and find the literally hundreds of conservative political leaders who told Americans that this was EXACTLY what is going to happen. And Americans voluntarily chose to – yet again – follow Santabama blindly, right off the cliff....after all, he's SO NICE and has SUCH a great smile.....

    November 12, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. VJ

    With Obama care, people are getting better coverage than keeping awful plans which offers less coverage.. This core will apply only to 4 % of population.. Also BTW, the law would collect any fine or penalty if you don't choose any plans. The idea of collecting fines are not in the original plan. Mainstream media needs to focus on the good part of the law, not finger pointing some of little drawbacks in the law...

    November 12, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. CryBabies

    @MaryM...Define "fixed". OBTW...Where in the hell are those two "fixers" Pelosi and Reid? Must be farming mushrooms>

    November 12, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Fred Garvin

    Bill Clinton...telling Obama to go fetch him some coffee. Love it when the real king of the Democrat party knows when there is blood in the water. You want loyaty in washington...get a dog.

    November 12, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Name

    People just dont read into anything now a days, they just take what someone else says and run with it. If you would bother to see where the funding is coming from you would know its not going to cost alot or more than the current system. I think people just dont like Obama because he is black. Everyone knows that this is a better system for everyone and cheaper or at least rational people do. But until they know what its like to be denide ins. They will remain ignorant.

    November 12, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  17. George T Hibs

    Unfortunately, forget who make such remarks, the fact remains Obama is not qualified and has little id any leadership abilities.

    November 12, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  18. MrsJAZ

    This President is ruining our great country. He is a failure.

    November 12, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  19. Hooper

    He's right. Nothing else needs to be said.

    November 12, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  20. ChrisM

    Looking more and more like Hillary vs Christie in 2016

    November 12, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  21. ora pike

    it was the video-picture obama with his pants down and a smile on clinton's face--this separates hillary from obamacare for the next election-well done bill. wow. Obama's ego will have him spin this but a lie is a lie is a lie.

    November 12, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  22. gimic

    my fear is that, the fed is now going to say- "oh you poor people, that lost your plan - we need another socialist government program at tax payers expense to assist you". So in essence we will be covering up one social medicine scan, with another. Result government, will just have even more power, and everyone will be at the governments mercy. And through the stratosphere goes our national debt. The whole thing should be terminated, and an investigation into this scam be done- immediately.

    November 12, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. jorge washinsen

    Healthcare will go out of sight and already has because of drug addiction.Crime is another reason,treating the drug users and the ones who get shot and cut in turf wars.

    November 12, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  24. Fair is fair

    Uh more people had insurance before Obama came along and jobs to for that matter! Bush then Obama! The one two punch!

    November 12, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  25. jorge washinsen

    I feel like an Amish, "shunned".

    November 12, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15