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. Hueyett

    You have to be really stupid to continue to make excuses for this President. He is a liar, a murderer, and a crook. Copying and pasting falsehoods can no longer hide who this man really is.

    November 12, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. smith

    It`s to late now, the damage has been done. Just gonna have to let it roll out and take the hit. He really shouldn`t care he`s done in three years.

    November 12, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. SpgfldTom

    How embarrassing it must be for Obama to be lectured on ethical behavior and doing the "right thing" by Bill Clinton! Obama has locked the "Worst U.S. President" spot....there is still intense competition for second place between Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan.

    November 12, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  4. Rembrant

    ACA is a mess, but something needs to be done to fix the American Healthcare problem. Other than (justifiably) complaining about ACA, I do not hear any solutions coming from the Republican and conservative camps. If ACA is so bad and if doing nothing is unacceptable, why don't Republicans come up with something more viable? Is Single Payer a solution? Comon folks! We are Americans, do you mean to tell me Americans are too inept to do something many other countries can?

    November 12, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. SpecialAgentOso

    I love it. Bill is throwing Obama under the bus in order to set up Hillary's run in 2016.

    November 12, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  6. Bill Canton

    I find it funny how these stories are 'bush did it too'. I dont recall the liberal media jumping onto how bad the implementation was – and I KNOW they would have given the chance. But alas – Thank God when it is so evident that the public would discredit anyone who would turn a blind eye to these mistakes – would be too risky to even cover the tracks of their media darling. As a side note – to the one calling the Tea party people Tealiban – the tea party people comprised of mostly hard working people tired of giving large portions of their checks to deadbeats. Of coarse your going to try and say that they are the same mindset as the people that cut the nose off of their daughters because they ran away from a marriage at 13 years of age? Your judgement will be projected upon your own self sweet-cheeks

    November 12, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. Ol' Yeller

    "Ahh...the opening salvos of Hillary's 2016 campaign (got to achieve adequate, centrist separation from the current administration!)..."

    Ahh... someone who knows politics. refreshing (hat tip)

    November 12, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. jack2



    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.

    Why is it that everytime someone syas something about Obama in a bad light that they bring up Bush. Bush was horrible and so is Obama but how does Bush being lousey justify Obama being lousey? Is this more Liberal justification. If it is it's misguilded.

    November 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Miller

    it all depends on what the definition of 'IS' is, correct Bill?

    November 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. mokicat2

    You know you're at the bottom of the dump when Bill Clinton is calling you out on your lies.

    November 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  11. Tim

    There has to be an amount in cost that can be attributed to the gap between what these policies used to provide and what they are required to provide now. Money doesn't solve everything... but it can solve some things. Seems we will need to throw a few dozen more billion to making people whole. I personally think this entire fiasco has put us on the road to universal coverage/government run care. The fact is the insurance companies desire for profit will never be fed. Next year, their shareholders will want more profit. That is how it works. As long as we have a for profit insurance industry Americans will pay through the neck for healthcare. Nothing Obama does can change that. As long as they are in business profiting off the sick... we have no good solutions.

    November 12, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  12. Tony

    Obamacare will not fail, because the private insurance system that Obamacare relies on will not fail, given the fact that Obamacare delivers more customers to the private insurance system. Moreover, private insurance companies pay the benefits, so the government does not pay the benefits. The government will not go broke if it does not pay benefits. As for Medicaid expansion, states can opt out of Medicaid expansion. Sorry Republicans, you can dream about Obamacare's failure, but it is not happening.

    November 12, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Sadie

    Why, Rembrandt, do you suggest it MUST come from the Republican side of the table???? Is it because the Dumbocrats aren't capable of coming up with a solution?

    November 12, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. jack2

    This is such an important matter. Someones health insurance covers a lot and is there to keep them from going bankrupt over medical bills. There's no room for error...Obama bungled again and needs to correct it. If an insurance man told his client what Obama told us he'd loose his license

    November 12, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. Thomas Eisenhut

    Good ole CNN. Last media organization to get an article up about Clinton telling Obama to honor his promise. Heck of a job CNN. No wonder no one watches your news anymore!

    November 12, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. You Got It

    @Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    "If people want their old, crappy health insurance policies back, by all means, let them keep it. If substandard, unaffordable insurance is what they want, by all means, let them have it. Idiots!"

    You're the only simpleton here, Dutch – how in the world can you know if the policy they had, before cancellation, was crappy?? Mine wasn't, my policy was MUCH better, before cancellation, than what I have available to me now – higher costs & higher deductibles.
    Each area of the country has different options available, based off participating hospitals, Dr'.s, etc. Educate yourself on what's really happening instead of trumpeting the party line & recycling media trash.
    I voted for Obama, and I now regret it.
    Bigtime. He lied, flat out, about this law. Worst President in my lifetime, hands down.

    November 12, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  17. powerfail

    Obama is what happens when the country elects a college professor with no experience governing. Beyond that, he has shown us that he has very poor character, indeed.

    November 12, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  18. liberty4life

    The problem with healthcare is the insurance companies. Get insurance companies out of healthcare and use your own money to pay for yourown health maintance.

    November 12, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. Mike

    People talk about a single payer system? You really want the gooberment to hold control of all aspects of your healthcare? Look how good they're doing now with it.......YOUR VISUAL AID!

    November 12, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. MHz

    That's embarrassing getting lectured about honesty by a convicted perjurer.

    November 12, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. anotherGDlefty

    Oh boy SpgfldTom, does it ever enter your mind that in your contest for worst president that if we had actually listened to Carter, we would be off middle eastern oil now?
    Of course it doesn't.

    November 12, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. Ron -IN

    What everyone needs to remember is , since we live in a capitalist system the insurance companies have a right to change there policies anytime they want to. If I am not mistaken the law was "IF" the insurance company did not alter the policy nothing would change. THEY decided to change the policy in order to make more money..How and why are we blaming the ACA for this? The grandfather clause was there, the insurance companies decided to change the policy not the ACA.

    November 12, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. observer1776

    It's refreshing to hear a leading Democrat take a responsible position against Obama.
    Unless other Democrats wake up to the damage that the Marxist oriented Obama and his cronies are doing, this country is in for some very serious trouble.
    We DO need a national health care solution, because, according to a Bloomberg study, the US is 46th in the efficiency of it;s health care, and spends the most money for the least results of any country.
    There is a solution, Sweden's system is s good example.

    November 12, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. Brian in DC

    Whatever Bill, a day late and a dollar short. those plans are gone never to return, Obamacare made sure of that. This is what happens when one party is shut out of the process. Te Repubs had plenty of ideas to make this bipartisan legislation and were told, "thanks but no thanks". No the Dems have to twist in the wind with this pig hung around their necks.

    November 12, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  25. BK

    To the person who said Obama locked the "Worst U.S. President" spot.....not a history buff are we. haha get a clue

    November 12, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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