Clinton: Obama should ‘honor commitment’ on keeping health plans
November 12th, 2013
11:53 AM ET
8 months 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 OZY.com.

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. rs

    tiz

    Obama is complete joke of a president. Worst leader that I can remember in that office..... just a bad president, you can't say anything more...
    _____________________
    One could say G.W. Bush.

    November 12, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. A True Conservative

    But....It's the law Mr. Former President!! We can't change it!.....or does that only aply if it's a change that conservatives want......uh oh....my bad......I forgot the rules again....

    November 12, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. crabapples12

    I love it, "no honor among thieves". Slick Willy is already trying to distance Hillary from Obama. Her platform will be kill Obamacare for single payer system. We all know that only in the political arena can you try twice for the same or similar thing and expect different results.

    November 12, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Boo

    Hey Tiz – read this – apparently you did not. "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.”

    November 12, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. Gunderson

    What?,
    That mean scrapping current "Fiasco" and vote on new law. But "Annointed One", not know which way turn. More "Adjustments", no?

    November 12, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. David

    Problem:
    Current Health Ins. programs are required to meet certain minimums. So many of these need to change.

    Bigger Problem:
    Health Insurance companies use this as an excuse (which is valid to some extent) to clear out everyone from older cheaper plans and push them into higher cost plans. Best of both worlds for them. They get more money and raise their profit margins because they know you don't want to switch so they don't really have to compete for existing customers on a competitive basis.

    Easy Solution:
    Change the law to say, you can stick with your old plan. But your carrier has to send you a short side by side comparison that shows you your new plan vs. the closest compliant solution. And give you a cost breakout for the difference, line by line.

    November 12, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. cneder

    It's too late Billy. The law that all demoncrats passed prevent people from keeping their plans. It was by design. "Let's pass this bill so that we can find out what's in it"

    November 12, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Incredulous

    Gee, you might think that the fall back position of the extreme left now, that being bipartisan changes to the law, would have been wise to begin with, correct? I will say this much. Bill Clinton made many mistakes, but in general he did atone for them. Obama has not atoned for anything and does nothing but push HIS agenda, not the agenda of the american people who elected him.

    November 12, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. Chucky31

    This is why supermajorities are so dangerous. Legislation is supposed to be passed on at least a partially bi-partisan basis. This way, it's tailored to help more people and minimize those who are adversly affected. However, rather than produce such a quality product for the American people, this was turned into a political battlefront from the beginning. Democrats can have all the credit for its successes, but they need to take resposibility for its failures, too. It's now up to both sides to close the gap and figure this out together......like they should've in the first place.

    November 12, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. SeeThruIt2

    The whole funding plan for ACA and the current price estimates for those enrolling now are based on the law as it was written in 2009. Changing any of those rules as written will have a ripple effect on the Exchange plan prices. Then the whole ACA model starts falling apart as the prices go up and fewer people sign up.

    November 12, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    I agree. Republicans are behind a bill that would allow people to keep their old insurance plans, so call them on it. Let them keep their old plans under the old rules if they want.

    November 12, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. jharry

    “The big lesson is that we’re better off with this law than without it,” he said.

    Wrong. That would be the other shoe that is about to drop.

    "...enact changes to Obamacare allowing insurance companies to continue offering individual plans that are currently being canceled..."

    Nice try, but the carriers must go through a state by state vetting process for insurance products with mindless state bureaucrats that make this just another empty promise, just another lie.

    Repeal and start over!

    November 12, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Pam from Iowa

    @just saying:
    "face it america. obama and the democrats lied to everybodyu and screwed all of us"
    You are too funny!
    Obama has yet to tell as tall a tale as GW Bush did in January 2003 when he gave the State of the Union address and told the tallest tale of this political career! and he screwed more than just us!!!!! Just saying!!!!!!

    November 12, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. perry

    Obama is a liar and Clinton is too. It looks like Clinton is paving his own way back into the white house to enjoy the young girls once again. The dude was right in one thing, people should be able to keep what they had, accept they can't any more because the insurance companies already eliminated it. Insurance companies and Obama are in this together; eliminate the cheap plan and put everyone on the more expensive plan. They can't switch back. It's not financially feasible for them.

    November 12, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  15. Mario

    Instead of defending a party. Maybe slick Willy is actually making sense of doing what is right not political.
    Having said that, Clinton always has a political angle so one has to question his motive of going public on this thought.
    Hilary will distance herself from the Obamacare disaster.
    Here comes the new battleground ...... women and gender inequalities.....

    Side note: Obamacare has NO constitutionality based on the supreme court ruling on it being a "TAX" and our current house did not legislate a TAX. the Executive branch has no authority to legislate a TAX... PERIOD

    November 12, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Goby Dillis

    I think these guys are missing the reason that this plan will fail, The young and healthy will pay the tax before they pay for a skewed rate premium meant to off set the costs of the sick or elderly. Failed before it even began. The solution to our national healthcare isn't the Government taking over and it never will be.

    November 12, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. CJ

    We should allow people to have non-compliant plans. It is a miracle that the Republicans are trying to make an alteration to the law that does not involve eliminating or delaying the law. This would have been the better approach from day one.

    November 12, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. Steve Wolff

    Obamacare is DOA. There is nothing this administration can do to prolong its life as the young are not buying into it and us older ones can't afford the coverage.
    He and his legacy are doomed.

    November 12, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  19. Greg

    Sorry. It is the law.

    November 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Darren

    This coming from the guy that played cigar games in the Oval office. Not really the person you want giving you advice.

    November 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  21. Hap

    Let's go with the republican plan which is to allow the "free market" set the rates. That means we go back to 10-20% increases every year paying for loafers through both our taxes and premiums and last but not least lining the pockets of "investors" who make their money the real old fashion way, off the pain and suffering of others. Funny how fast people forget why we needed this, this is also evidenced by the idiots who call this President the worst ever, as if the last one who ruined our economy, killed about a million people, but gave tax breaks to the rich was so wonderful.

    November 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  22. Bill

    Pelosi said we have to pass the bill to find out what is in it. This is what happens when we do that.

    November 12, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Brian

    From your note below, Mr. "The REAL Truth..." – it appears to me (someone who's nuetral) that you are the type of person attempting to type-cast your political opponent (i.e., the Tea Party) as inflexible and 'bad.' But in all reality, you're simply casting this aspersion without real merrit just for your own party's political gain......it's as though your trying to 'get the message out' that the 'other side' is bad, bad, bad. I believe what we're seeing here is the 'slander the other side no matter what game.' It gets old.

    The REAL Truth...

    Makes sense... but don't hold your breath on the Obstructionist and Tealiban Party's buying into any of it.. they have no plans, no platform and no healthcare objectives but to REPEAL ACA. Negotiation and valid, viable changes to the law to make it better and work for ALL Americans is NOT on their RADAR!
    Why not??? Because without repeal of ACA as political capital, there is absolutely NOTHING that the GOP have to run on in 2014 and 2016. And they KNOW that!!

    November 12, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Timmy

    Now you've done it Bill.

    November 12, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. perry

    They got to hurry and pass the law before Americans find out it was all lies.

    November 12, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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