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. Njoeame

    If you were a common American and not a shill you'd call it obamacare not aca

    November 12, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  2. Old white conservative strait male

    The lies Obama has put out since 2008 are worse than anything Nixon did. He didn't just swindle a few people for his own profit like Nixon, he swindled all of America into thinking this was a good idea and is already profiting on the backs of the tax payers. One question I have for the divider and thief that’s sit in the White House: Do you feel that you know what's best for me? If the answer is yes then say goodbye to freedom and hello to communism.

    November 12, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. darrell

    our health care is so screwed up I'm a 43 yr old male and i lost my job due pretty much to the fact that i was demeed disabled by my doctors and i couldn't do the work....since i lost my job i lost my insurance lost my car lost my home and now living with my 75 yr old parents...I've tried signing up for medcaid and dissability and was turned down by both because i don't have enough documentation but i can't go to dr becauSe i have no money and can't be hired for aNY JOB due to my dissability...WHEN AS WE AS AMERICAN PEOPLE GOING TO REVOLT AGAINST THE SYSTEM AND TAKE OUR CONTRY BACK...

    November 12, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. smith

    @Dutch-The idiots you refer to are mad because they are paying alot mor money in premiums for plans they really don`t need. You do understand that? You act like they are getting better plans for the same price. They are not.

    November 12, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Wake up People!

    Wow, so wanting ALL Americans to have health care qualifies you as the worst POTUS ever?? What about crashing the economy and causing millions of hard working Americans to lose their jobs and benefits? Not so much huh?

    November 12, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. health

    NO they shouldn't be able to keep these policies because they changed AFTER the law was enacted. You should be mad at the insurance ocmpanies, not the president. They are playing with the policies on purpose to maximize their profits

    Bottom line... if you have acrappy insurance policy than you are still being a dead beat. If you get sick or have to go to the hospital... your plan won't cover you so you become a leech on the rest of society. That's the main thing this law is trying to accomplish.

    It's called personal responsibility. Take care of your own stuff and do it right. It's not Obama's fault you bought a worthless policy

    November 12, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  7. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    "I" am keeping "MY" promise !!!

    It's... The NEW Freedom of Fundamental Transformation.


    Did "I" not TELL you that "I" am just too AWESOME !!!

    November 12, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Clinton scums the poop in the WH


    Good call.

    November 12, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. JonathanF

    If Obama had any integrity or heart, he would not have to be reminded to keep his own promise!

    November 12, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Humanit4All

    Good Advice. I think this confusion has escalated to an extent that people are not enrolling. Republican spend Billion dollars to confuse people and keep people away from enrollments.

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Syd Chaden

    What's this? Obama should keep his promise? What promise? Obama simply "misspoke". You know what "misspoke" means. When a Democratic politician is caught telling an untruth, a falsehood, they do not lie, they "misspeak". Hillary developed and perfected the use of "misspeak" after she told the world how she dodged machine gun bullets as she ran from her helicopter to her photo op. And, when Obama makes a commitment, such as getting to the bottom of Fast & Furious, and the political activities of the IRS, and the abandonment of the US Consulate at Benghazi, and death of four Americans, and he doesn't do it, he has "misspoke". In fact, in regard to the Benghazi Consulate, Hillary and Obama misspoke together. And, when Obama said, "Everyone can keep their insurance, if they wish. They will not lose it. Period.", and that turned out to be untrue, he misspoke. Everyone knows that. What is wrong with Bill Clinton, anyway?

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  12. Woman In California

    I can't believe I'm typing this but I actually agree with Clinton.

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  13. lerianis

    Mr. Clinton needs to be quiet on this. Those 'health insurance plans' that are being dropped are being dropped because the companies in question know that they do not meet ACA standards and therefore feel that 'dropping' them is better than expanding them, which they could do easily, or are not health insurance but...... I don't even know what to call them..... faux-health insurance is best, since they cover nothing at all.

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. just saying

    this is bill clinton's payback to obama about the quote that came out. obama said he could take bill clinton 'in doses'. well bill clinton is giving him one of those doses right now. swallow hard obama. but it does reveal a lot about obama. bill clinton pretty much saved his re-election. you'd think obama would be far more grateful. speaks volumes about obama.

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    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!

    Ain't that the truth, Dutch.


    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Andre USMC

    To even CONSIDER President Obama for "worst U.S. President" shows your complete lack of knowledge of history, economics, and politics. President Obama is #15 from the top, and President GW Bush is ranked as one of the worst. You don't even realize you're biased, and that's the fact that scares me.

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. Joe

    This is a complete disaster! People (those paying taxes...middle and upper class) losing insurance, paying higher premiums, losing physicans, higher deductables, pathetic website developed by a 5th grader. Of course all the 'bottom feeders' are in hog heaven! Obama either is out of the loop for all our scandals (teflon man) BUT he can't escape this one. Completely dishonest president. Where is this transparency and 'moving forward'. As of now, his legacy is garbage. All lip service!

    November 12, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Skullmaker

    And as usual, the old lie "Republicans haven't produced any healthcare solutions", keeps being told. Instead of using the Obama/Carney talking points, how about doing a just a tiny bit of research? Republicans HAVE attempted to present healthcare solutions but good ole Sen Harry Reid will not allow them to be brought to the floor for a vote. Reid has even stopped other Dems from presenting other healthcare options.... WHO IS BLOCKING AND NOT GIVING TRUE SOLUTIONS???

    November 12, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  19. anonymous

    Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes
    Please list all of Obama's foreign policy credentials in 2007 when he announced. Better yet, list ONE of Obama's foreign policy credentials when he announced in 2007.
    Lugar-Obama Act(S. 2566). Not to mention he voted AGAINST the Iraq war. So you were saying........

    bwahahahhahaha!!!! sponsoring one bill and casting one vote is not foreign policy experience!! where is the diplomatic contact with foreign leaders there??? by your insane definition just about everybody in the house has foreign policy experience. yikes.... just another clueless low information democrat voter.

    November 12, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. nomad2003

    Obama has lied and lied and lied!!! And will continue to do so, not just here but everywhere and will stall and stall. When congress asked him what the criteria was on sueing banks over bias loans.. and refused...

    and trying to compare ACA web site to Bush and mediicare part D. That bill did more than just part D. Medicare Advange was also included along with health savings accounts. Most were added to part D automatically (about 35 million), the confusion was mostly over the advantage section. This age group at the time was hardly the most computer savy group. It was done in less than a year, not 3.5 years.
    Rebuplican idea, enlarge the uninsured window in the HIPPA law, which covers preexitsting conditions. Permit out of state purchase of insurance, so if get a new job out of state you can keep your policy. A refundable tax credit to cover the cost of buying insurance. Tort reform in that the loser pays all court costs and lawyers fees. Rhese are a few.
    Cantor told Obama about the cancelaton of policy in 2010. Obama knew. But lied to get elected.

    November 12, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. styx

    I laugh when the left blames insurance companies- the companies are dropping people because most of their more affordable plans no longer cover key criteria required by the ACA.

    November 12, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  22. Ted

    Republicans aren't interested in any kind of government run health care, regardless of how well run it may be. They have from the beginning of Obama's term, done everything in their power to obstruct any forward progress on anything that isn't their of their own origins. They haven't in the past, nor do they want any democratic to succeed. They don't care about the good of the country. Obama practically begged them to engage in useful negotiations during his first term. Now, because Obama was impatient about rolling out the health care website far too soon, coupled with an obvious misrepresentation or outright lie about keeping your current coverage, the focus has shifted away from the GOP nearly fomenting an economic collapse over the budget and debt ceiling, to the obvious debacle of the health care rollout. Regardless of what one may think about Clinton, he's right: The promises Obama made need to be honored. Moreover, some requirements of the health care law should be delayed, until the bugs in the website are corrected and the law provides what was promised, to gain support for the law in the first place. We know the GOP can't afford to participate to solve the problem. They are in enough political trouble over the shutdown and near debt default. The health care debacle is all they have left to salvage a sinking ship.

    November 12, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. rob

    You won't recall the many Republican plans that have been put forward on repeal and replacing the Obamacare nightmare because your liberal media doesn't report them. The NYT etc. are so invested in Obama and his Social Democratic transformation of the US they will never allow fair discussion on any Republicans alternatives.

    November 12, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |

    Or Hilary will definitely fail in 2016

    November 12, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Donna

    NO they shouldn't be able to keep these policies because they changed AFTER the law was enacted. You should be mad at the insurance ocmpanies, not the president.

    We should be mad at the insurance companies for following the Obamacare law??? You expect them to violate the law??? Just another low information Obamadroid.

    November 12, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15