November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
5 months 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 HealthCare.gov 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."

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soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. cneder

    The man needs to be indicted for defrauding the American people. This more than meets the minimum requirements for IMPEACHMENT.

    November 17, 2013 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  2. sdechter

    I do not believe that anyone really read and understood the legislation before trying to sell it to the American people. They were selling a concept and taking full credit for worthy legislation. In reality, the legislation is crappy, the implementation is a failure, and we are stuck with paying untold dollars to repair it. So goes the political circles.

    November 18, 2013 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  3. Juanito

    Now blaming it on the use of soundbites?

    Can't that be said of ALL presidential gaffs?

    Ain't biting on that one. It was outright lie to get people to buy into this craptacular piece of boondoggle that is costing the American people, and the government, 100's of millions of dollars.

    NEVER in modern America has a piece of legislation had a direct, and almost instantaneous, adverse effect on its popular than the ACA.

    Yes, Obama, we will remember you every time we look at our paystub and see what you and the Democratic Party had rammed down our throats: repub's, dems, and indies alike.

    We so need a change...

    November 18, 2013 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  4. Shooga J

    I do not normally defend the President. But his fellow Democrats are throwing him under the bus simply to preserve their own careers. They were 100% behind this plan. And now that the law no one read is failing, they are all to blame.

    November 18, 2013 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  5. coastlinecascot

    Like a used car salesman. The transmission is great ........................Well just for the next 100 miles.

    November 18, 2013 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  6. Sergio

    Why must Democrats be so polarized to the left while Republicans be so far to the right? It's obvious that Obamacare is helping a lot of people but it's also clear that it's screwing over others. There are obvious fixes here but neither side can see the answers that happen to reside in the middle.

    November 18, 2013 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  7. Ican Heare

    I voted for Obama and I would take it back if I could. I don't find him trustworthy or capable as a leader or manager. The people and projects under his administration have a knack for falling apart to pieces. I guess he chewed out his entire staff/aids about Obamacare site (wow, another great sign of a leader). It seems like there are a lot of leadership and management lessons that Obama still had (and most likely has) to learn. Really questions whether he was ready to be POTUS.

    November 18, 2013 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  8. Nanu

    Unfortunately the American people, in general, feel a polititian's message isn't strong enough, or becomes vague and confused the more they try to explain their goals This goes for both parties (and is one of the reasons Republicans and Democrats have become so polarized and extremist - the simple messages are the only ones that get through. Something has needed to be done about healthcare reform in this country for decades, but it will take a few years before any sweeping reforms are problem free. Americans don't want to hear that one moment, and then the next they're complaining about their health premiums going up (which they have been for decades now, and policies are constantly being changed and updated). It's just that the general public doesn't notice this because they are largely covered by their employers (I guarantee you that business owners notice the rising insurance costs to them over the last few decades.

    November 18, 2013 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  9. mona19595

    The title says it all!!! Our President never truly means what he says does he? We were sold a bill of goods period who actually came up and detailed Obama Care..............has anyone bothered to read the entire bill to know EXACTLY what is says? I think NOT......this is a very scary time we are heading in to.

    November 18, 2013 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  10. l texas

    We have to pass it to see what's in it...Nancy Pelosci.........in medicine , that's called a stool sample! Has ANYBODY asked the doctors about this plan??? EVER???

    November 18, 2013 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  11. Pete Brown

    The liberal press never completes the quote. Obama said "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. PERIOD." That sounds pretty unambiguous to me. Will the press hold him accountable for anything??

    November 18, 2013 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  12. Bill Davis

    One thing about a Community is he is always in your back pocket, and he also always want to set a the head of the table to take the credit,

    November 18, 2013 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  13. Bee Lade

    He won the election in sound bites.

    We been living in a sound bite world since the mid 80's.
    All they give you. A Bite, no sustenance, just malnutrition of facts.

    November 18, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  14. lnchudej

    It's hilarious to watch these politicians backtrack on Obamacare. Next thing you know they'll be blaming Bush. Obama's a consummate salesman. Salesmen use sound bites to hook a customer. Then the salesman talks so fast that no one can ask questions without feeling like idiots for not knowing everything about whatever it is the salesman is selling. Obama uses classic principles of selling. The voters, "customers," are classic fools for a "good deal." If it's too good to be true it most likely isn't true. Voters who want the government to take care of them will always vote for the Obamas of the world.

    November 18, 2013 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Chris

    You and all of America will get used to this new system soon. The dissent will fade away or not be listened to, and peeople will enjoy the lack of worry. It was the same with other plans like this.

    November 18, 2013 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  16. Liedtoenough...

    This admins greatest achievement has been lies. Theirs are profound.

    November 18, 2013 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  17. Robin Jones

    Well, Rep. James Clyburn, since you knew all about this and saw that the President was not explaining it properly, why didn't YOU speak up about it. Or did you, just like Speaker Nancy Pelosi, not even bother to read the bill before you voted for it? Blaming "sound bites" for the deceptive acts of the person who uttered them is not just nonsense, it's nonsense on stilts. Do you also blame the massive Gulf oil spill on the oil instead of BP?

    November 18, 2013 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  18. Dc

    Not only did the president, so did every democrat that parroted the same talking points. Whether or not this makes a difference will depend on if the (so far) mostly corrupt propaganda machine (aka 'the media') will finally report the truth and quit covering for these corrupt politicians.

    November 18, 2013 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  19. stevetall

    Talk about a sound bite. Clyburn, if you and the rest of the Democratic Party would grow a pair and start acting like Democrats should act, you'd be kicking the Republicans all over the place for their short-sighted, self-centered, greedy, and thoroughly ignorant behavior. Unfortunately, trying to out pinhead them isn't something that I think you should waste your time on. It's impossible to out stupid this crop. Ignore them and do something that would actually be good for all American people rather than just the ones who might donate to your re-election campaign.

    November 18, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  20. Rogue351

    The easy thing is to blame Obama. The choice to cancel millions of insurance policies was actually made by greedy CEO's at the insurance companies. Once these plans became more expensive employers once again instead of decreasing CEO's and CFO salaries to something reasonable to pay for the added cost. instead they choose to not help with the added cost for their employees. A perfect example of corporate greed. Yet everyone is willing to trust them over Obama ? That is almost as silly as electing another Tea Party / GOP member to any office in the nation. If anyone is going to be more likely in starting up "Death Camps". I can see the GOP / Tea Party doing it to save a few bucks. The insurance companies to make money because the less they have to do and the more they can charge for it. But you believe it is Obama that wants to ruin your healthcare. Ruin it by giving every American healthcare and being block every step of the way by the Tea Party / GOP and you expect it is going to work ? The GOP / Tea Party is the most liable . Instead of following the rule of LAW the have fought tooth and nail to keep our healthcare from not getting to the people. It was passes it is not the JOB of congress to choose which LAWS they obey of any given day. That is not the way our justice system works. Doing nothing, Blocking, and starting wars to further the economy is not a sustainable economic stream of secure path to lead America down.

    November 18, 2013 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  21. Taken4granted

    Apology not enough. Sound bites are still a lie. 5% of the 300M population are lied to, period. Fixing for a year is not enough. What you are telling us is that after a year, the 5% who are satisfied with their existing insurance plans will be forced once again to sign up for ACA. NOT ACCEPTABLE. Clyburn, you are just saving your "behind" to cover your seat.

    November 18, 2013 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  22. JEM

    Those who REALLY wanted to improve our medical system supported Ron Paul.

    Those who didn't, didn't.

    ANY expression of surprise over all this is a lie.

    Those who voted for Obama KNEW it would injure their children's access to medical care.

    Stop lying people and face the truth.

    November 18, 2013 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  23. Daniel Morrissey

    How about we get some worthwhile comments happening here.

    No matter the cost to all Americans.. There is now a new and affordable option for even people on the verge of homelessness to be able to get health coverage.

    A basic right that all humans deserve without fees, although in our capitalistic world there at times needs to be something given to get. This program was released foolishly, although the benefit could come from good intentions. Since some people will be helped because of this.

    Now with what I said, I do not agree with the way this was handled. Lying to the American people is not okay to me, and affects all of our lives. I am truly sorry for whomever is affected by this sloppy addition to our Government policy.

    Although hopefully in time it can be renovated to be what it was intended to be, health coverage for as small of a rate as "possible"

    November 18, 2013 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  24. Daniel Morrissey

    Anyone remember how the Government bullied its way into the monopoly railroad business back in western times?

    Compare that to the "enforcement of regulations" that is happening in the healthcare market.

    November 18, 2013 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  25. Brad

    It's rather odd how the Dems criticized the Repubs for all the tax breaks given to the rich. As if the Dems were FOR the MIDDLE class. Who is taking on the brunt of this law? The MIDDLE CLASS. The middle class is now responsible for providing health care to a vast majority of people who refuse to work that are capable. Forced to provide health care for the children they bring into this world that they shouldn't have. We don't have just have economic problems. We have social problems. Solve unemployment and you can solve the health care issue. Mr. Pres. You were elected President of the United States. You were not elected the Foster Parent of the United States. It's time to govern, not coddle.

    November 18, 2013 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
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