November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
5 years ago

Clyburn: Obama failed to explain health care promise

Washington (CNN) – The No. 3 House Democrat on Sunday blamed a culture of sound bites for President Barack Obama's reneged promise that Americans would be able to keep their existing health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

"And this is a sound bite that the President probably needed to take some more time to explain to the American people," Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union with Candy Crowley."

After millions of people received cancellation notices for their health plans, Obama faced considerable pushback over his promise to Americans that the new health care reform would not affect those who are already happy with their insurance policies.

"If you like your health insurance, you can keep it," Obama repeatedly told Americans when selling his signature piece of legislation.

After that turned out not to be the case, Obama on Thursday announced his administration would allow insurance companies to extend those canceled policies for a year.

Clyburn, the House assistant Democratic leader, said Obama relied too heavily on a sound bite-friendly selling point, rather than spelling out that he was only referring to plans in place before the Affordable Care Act became law in 2010 and hadn't changed since.

Fact Check: If you liked your health plan, you can keep your health plan

"One of the things in Washington that I dislike more than anything else is when people say to me, 'If you're explaining it, you're losing it.' I don't like that at all. I really believe the American people are deserving of explanations," he said, also blaming the media for not fully explaining the new legislation.

With recent polls showing the President is considered less trustworthy than in the past, Obama on Thursday said he expects he'll need to regain Americans' faith after the rocky rollout of and his broken promise about existing plans.

Clyburn said he was confident Obama can do so.

"Paradise lost, paradise regained. When you lose something you can find it again," he said. "The President admitted that he expects to be held responsible for regaining the Americans' trust, and I think he will."

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Tigas

    A lie is still a lie as "you can keep your policy. Period." Is false.

    November 17, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. vic , nashville ,tn

    Independents wants to focus on balance budget, fix the immigration ,raise minimum wage, Obama will out of the white house in three years so move on

    Smart republican worries are
    Conservative radio talk show and tv pundits are not our policy makers
    Fix the party for long term we can’t lose Texas to democrats in 2024 that will be jackpot for democrats so fix the immigration
    Put new ideas in the table

    Democrats want to focus on Income inequality, minimum wage, education immigration
    The fact is we can’t pass gun control bill they can’t repeal Obama care

    Americans wants both parties to fix the ACA and move to other problems

    November 17, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Chipster

    After people who need health insurance have made their choices, signed up and are receiving health care, we will have a better picture of how this is working. It's a huge change that will take time and adjusting to situations that arise. However, we simply cannot continue paying for uninsured patients who fail to get preventive care, wait until they are deathly sick, and go to emergency rooms for expensive treatment – often dying after many costly weeks of hospital care. So far, no one else has offered any better, or even any other, solution. Well, there is the "Just let them die" advocates but most Americans have not been supportive of that.

    November 17, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Obama never "explains" anything. He never accepts "no" for an answer from the citizens, either.

    That is because he IS a dictator.

    November 17, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Randy, San Francisco

    It is unfortunate that President Obama got into trouble for using simplistic sound bites for political reasons instead of honestly explaining that for the general benefit of all citizens there would be losers and winners in the health care law.

    November 17, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. Dictator??????

    Funny the last time I checked dictators didn't get elected. President Obama was elected not once but twice.

    November 17, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. king

    how the hell can the dems try to out propaganda the right wing. lesson folks the repubs owns all the media outlets, and their propaganda is well coordinated, no one step out of step when their propaganda machine start rolling, no matter how misleading and downright lies the messages is. the dems are so self concious about their mediocre media power, that they jump ship at the slightest down turn. all the dems can do is hope that the american people see success, over the relelntless barage of miss information the repubs and their corporate partners are pushing. their are still realistic people out their that will see the reality of good things happening in front of their eyes, instead of the rederic of insinuating disasters from the repubs.

    November 17, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. California

    Clyburn, You would be just as accurate just stating the first two words alone.

    November 17, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Tampa Tim

    Even a third grader knows the meaning of 'dictator', baggers are not smarter than a third grader.

    November 17, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. Thomas

    @Rick McDaniel
    Obama never "explains" anything. He never accepts "no" for an answer from the citizens, either.

    That is because he IS a dictator.


    Is your 402k better now then when GW Bush was in office , JOBS JOBS JOBS .

    Het Rick , nobody as of yet has died or lost a limb over the Affordable Healthcare Act .

    When you find those WMD's in Iraq , please enlighten us .

    November 17, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Tampa Tim

    Do you baggers realize that even though you have taken on the role of domestic terrorists because we have a black president, Obama will not be the last minority to be elected?

    November 17, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. Tampa Tim

    For 30 years, republicans have failed our country.

    November 17, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  13. DebC

    Well then Rep. James Clyburn, D-South Carolina, why did you not correct the problem by 1) speaking out with corrections to Obama's mantras or 2) Not vote for the bill because you knew it was being misrepresented? In my mind there are only two reasons. Either you wanted to participate in the deception for political reasons or you didn't even bother to read the proposed act before you voted on it. Either scenario does not sit well with constituents. Good luck in your reelection next time around.

    November 17, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. oreo

    Sound bites were all this Prez ever had. Silly neo-liberals, tee-hee!

    November 17, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. bankshotter

    Barack will be held accountable and he will suffer the consequences.....and he will not earn back the nation's trust. when the small biz insured cancellations occur in mid-2014 we will be back to the same narrative, huh Barack? what a mess. what a mess.

    November 17, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. Khagaraj Sommu

    If only the usually hypercritical Clyburn is equally charitable to his political rivals ,he could certainly gain paradise.

    November 17, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. dnokc

    Once integrity is lost, so has the ability to lead.

    November 17, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. Rick

    I will have health insurance for the first time in 5 years because the death panel insurance companies you haters love so much were permitted to drop me after knee surgeries....If the uneducated here want's to keep their junk policies, go right ahead.....just dont get sick....and I would bet the vast majority of you whiners did not receive a cancellation nor have you visited the exchange to see how you can save money.......

    November 17, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. JY

    As bad as it is to lie to the public to get your way as president. This is no where as criminal as the WMD LIES.

    November 17, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  20. Jim Cole

    What if you made a health insurance law, and nobody except sick people signed up? What if you signed up a bunch of sick people, and couldn't find doctors to accept them because reimbursements were too low? Hmmm....

    November 17, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. malcat

    I'm already tired of the Democrats whining. Now they are claiming Obama 'tricked' them. WRONG: it is the responsibility of all members of Congress to KNOW what they are voting on and to monitor HOW a law is implemented.

    If the Democrats in Congress had done their JOB instead of kissing Obama's butt, we just might have been spared this nightmare.

    November 17, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  22. Paul

    The republicans would have used the line either way against Obama. If he truly let people keep "junk" insurance then as soon as people discovered they had "junk" insurance, the republicans would be saying, "see, we told you obamacare was no good". Bottom line is that they only care about hurting Obama and could care less whether people have healthcare.

    November 17, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  23. oharris30

    The president didn't lie, He was lied to that the website would be running properly. It laughable all the haters of the president pushing the Obama Lie issue. That was a well set up description of him by the repubs when the SC judge yelled YOu lie. Just another setup by Mitch McConnell. The GOP knew there would be enough Obama haters to carry it on. The president is not the one lying to people in Washington, it's the repubs who can't do their jobs for all the hate they spew. We need to fix healthcare in this country now that it is a law and I agree with a prior person comment, we need to move on to other issues. The fact that the media and so many others in this country is making such a big deal over this issue when we need to strengthen the economy so we can get back to work and pay for our own healthcare, support ourselves so we don't have to rely on FS and the government is a joke. This is the way the GOP congress needs to go so their argument that so many Amerincans are on entitlement programs is ridiculous. Only fools would continue to criticize the American people while doing nothing when most of us want Jobs! I blame employers and the GOP congress for this mess. Time for them to get back to work instead of being free loaders.

    November 17, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Jim

    obama lied, and you still support him. Can't fix crazy.

    November 17, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. malcat

    Tampa Tim
    Do you baggers realize that even though you have taken on the role of domestic terrorists because we have a black president, Obama will not be the last minority to be elected?
    Do you realize just how bigoted, hateful, and RACIST your post is?

    I hope and pray Obama's vile behavior doesn't prevent minorities from running for, and being elected, POTUS as long as they can actually do the job.

    November 17, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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