November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
10 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."

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. Greenspam

    Actually, American voters are generally impatient and they only have time for soundbites. So can you blame politicians for sticking to soundbites only?

    November 18, 2013 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  2. Lost

    Whenever there is any kind of crisis, the media, proponents, and opponents alike will scrutinize our president until he seems to be backed in a corner. But, he always comes out fighting...and victorious. We still believe in and love our President !!! Forward on! He is the most intelligent, most stable minded, most fair, most patient, most eloquent president this nation will ever have...and there's no going back. The face of power and a new managerial style as far as the presidency has changed forever. People are so fickle, walking on eggshells, whenever something "seems" to go wrong. The presence of President Obama in the White House has stirred an awakening unlike any other time in history, and it's a pivotal moment. Will this nation evolve and thrive with new ideas, or will it try to regress back into a past that discolored it's history with bigotry and abuse? The hidden racism has hit a fever pitch, is out for all to witness, and those who stand up for our beloved president should do so loudly, and in grand fashion. Our voices should over-power the voices of those who chant hate and discontent. The US has many demons, and placing any blame on our current president for the existence of these troubled times is irrational, irresponsible, and reprehensible.

    We Love and Support You, President Barack Obama!!!! Chin Up, Mr. President.

    November 18, 2013 03:45 am at 3:45 am |
  3. newcombrpt

    Let's see, Clybourn is trying to explain away what Obama tried to cover-up in his explanations. Well, apples don't fall far from the tree.

    November 18, 2013 03:47 am at 3:47 am |
  4. newcombrpt

    Let's see, Clybourn, 3rd down the ladder is trying to explain away what the #1 at the top has also tried to explain away. Where does it end?

    November 18, 2013 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  5. WOW

    so wow CNN finally realizes that Obama is a joke, the same thing republicans have been saying since day one........im at a lost for words.

    November 18, 2013 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  6. WOW

    im glad America is waking up........YES WE CAN is not WE HAD NO IDEA WHAT WE WERE DOING

    November 18, 2013 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini©

    Obama still gets my support: consider the alternative. Unworthy workers were hired to set up the plan. The President should hire the smart folks, not make PC appointments to those he wishes could do the job.

    November 18, 2013 04:20 am at 4:20 am |
  8. bob

    He explained it pretty well, just he lied that is the problem he is having now. Played the entire country and his own party for suckers. Now its time to own up to what he has done and of course, more lies as the Great Man does not have the spine for that.

    November 18, 2013 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  9. hebedog

    Tim Tebow for Prez. Only honest guy out there.

    November 18, 2013 05:49 am at 5:49 am |
  10. Bill

    And just like salesmen of old, who promised universal healthcare cures if you'd only buy what they were selling, in the end, Obama had nothing more than useless snake oil.

    November 18, 2013 05:50 am at 5:50 am |
  11. JJ

    Great point he's making but a little too late for a lot of Americans out here right now.
    We expect a President to be more truthful and NOT hide behind other members of his administration and golf games.
    We're in very deep trouble folks.

    November 18, 2013 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  12. liberal disease

    sound bites and a teleprompter pretty much sums up this empty suit, the unsettling part is all of you libs who voted for him couldn't see this from day one like 50 million smart people did..

    November 18, 2013 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  13. BostonDan

    Yep, it's the media's fault. One of the things I dislike about Washington is the lack of accountability. Wouldn't it be refreshing to: 1. Hear a rep or senator say "I screwed up and and didn't read the bill carefully before I took a position or vote on it...." instead of blaming someone/something else? AND: 2. See someone in government get fired, demoted, lose a bonus, or at least lose a raise when a project fails, goes over budget, misses deadlines?

    November 18, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  14. One one

    Bait and switch. Oldest sales trick in the world.

    November 18, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  15. Joe

    This noe only is Obama's lying tendencies, but also falls on evry single person that re-elected him. I hope the majority of those that are loosing their health care are the same weak minded people that voted to re-elect him. Obama has lied to the American people consistently during his first 4 terms, but the Obama followers did not care. Obama claims he knows nothing when things go wrong and is a compulsive lier to those that see reality.

    So for those that worship this man, hope your finally feeling the pain. This will not be the last lie he tells to the American people and we have a very long 3 years to go.

    For that, I hope Democrats who support this man, feels the brunt of the pain and reaps what they sowed.

    November 18, 2013 06:46 am at 6:46 am |
  16. Brian Fallon

    "The Sound Bite President". That's probably the best description of him to date. No real accomplishments, no real ideas, just rhetoric and a slick presentation.

    November 18, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  17. C Koffend

    '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.

    Well the problem with this is that

    A: the politicians want the media to perpetuate their lies; many media outlets invited Obama/ACA administrators for interviews and pushed tough questions – the answers in those hour long interviews always avoided any details and perpetuated the lies. I listened to many of these shows (Charlie Rose for example), the national spokesperson for the ACA just continued to repeat this lie, verbatim. When asked about potential higher costs for coverage? Another lie, "with subsidies costs will be much, much lower. In fact nearly free to many, many people." Refusals to answer questions about high co-pays and deductible – instead only stating the certain services had no co-pays or deductibles. This who law was "sold" but never detailed.

    B: if the media started explaining proposed legislation, that would include how lots of the social entitlements will cost taxpayers hundred of billions more per year in either debt or taxes. It would mean pointing out all the pork and what specific politician got the pork added. It would mean clearly tying legislative proposals to political donors, political appointees to campaign participation, etc. . . All things the politicians would be horrendously opposed to.

    Give me a break, the last thing OUR politicians want is a truthful and honest media. Well that's not true, the last thing they want is for the voting and tax paying public to really be aware of what they are doing and how they are spending our money.

    November 18, 2013 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  18. lockhimup

    we are very sorry....... that we got caught.

    Senate

    November 18, 2013 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  19. cbp

    THe media has done a poor job in their attempts to report what is happening with the Affordable Care Act. Many reporters used heresay as the truth and probably upset people much more than necessary.

    The Republicans had ample time to work on healthcare but chose not to do so. After 40 or so attempts to defund the Act they still cannot work to bring positive outcomes.

    Perhaps they would be willing to give all Americans the same health insurance plans that they have had for all these years. Of course, they do not thank us for paying most of the costs for that insurance. It is time for them to offer us all the same insurance as they have or find a way to make the Affordable Care Act available for all of us.

    The cost of healthcare has skyrocketed and people absolutely need insurance. One accident or serious illness or injury van bankrupt an individual or family. We need to impress that truth on our young people. They just might need that insurance on any day in their lives.

    November 18, 2013 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  20. Grandma of Four

    "O"BLAME"R" FLAT OUT LIED! So did Harry and Nancy. They strong armed Bart Stupak to the floor behind CLOSED DOORS!!! They almost make a joke out of Nancy's "After you pass it, you can read it" remark! They knew exactly what they were doing and because so many folks were such true "O"BLAME"R" believers, it got passed. And, in the subsequent years some of those who voted YES FINALLY got around to reading it or had their staff read it and it dawned on them, UT OH!!! This is gonna come out but they still kept their mouths shut because maybe they had some piece of legislation they wanted to get passed over a completely different area and it was just smart to stay quiet. You know, I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine idea!

    November 18, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  21. C Koffend

    People proclaiming national socialized health insurance is the answer have never done any real statistical research on the topic.

    Cure rates for cancer and other potential terminal illnesses are half or less what they are in the USA – vs. Canada and the UK at least.

    Wait times for major medical surgeries are much longer in the UK and Canada (and others) versus the US.

    Percentage of one month or less wait time once referred to a specialist in UK and Canada are very, very low.

    Medical for major medical services, in terms of quality, are rated much, much lower in these countries (UK and Canada specifically).

    Costs? You think they are cheaper because one does not write a check each month. But the costs are actually quite high. In every single case of nationalized health care, costs are more than double what the initial cost estimates were prior to implementation. In the UK, they are more than 10 times higher than initial estimates . . . in less than 10 years of operations.

    If these systems are so great, then why do people that have the means and need important and/or complicated procedures come to the US?

    The government health care system in the UK is their number one budget buster. They simply cannot afford it, services have suffered significantly as a result of it.

    But like in America, most people don't care about government costs, national debt, etc. . . I don't know how Americans as a whole can be so utterly oblivious to what it is going to cost us to address our debt issues. But I guess if I planned to live off government subsidies and knew my children and theirs were never going to strive for success, maybe I wouldn't care about that either . . . at least until the government is so indebted that it is forced to reign in the hand-out system because it just simply cannot be afforded.

    November 18, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  22. Shawn Irwin

    The whole presidency has been nothing other than a sound-bite, and worth about that. For all intents and purposes, we may as well have had George Bush in there, the results would be the same.

    November 18, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  23. Ken

    All hail our benevolent dictator for proclaiming that "his administration would allow insurance companies to extend those canceled policies for a year."

    November 18, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  24. chris leak

    Dspite being a staunch Conservative, I could actually support the notion of a single payer system. I really could. Because, if we decided as a society that the "general welfare" would be best served by taxing the populace for a shared and necessary service, then so be it. I can live with that. I can even be hapy about that discussion.

    At least that would be within the bounds of the US Constitution, unlike this travesty that has been foisted upon us.

    My greatest far of a single payer system is that we cannot afford it! If we implemented such a system along with the elimination of several society-rotting welfare programs and a revamping of the tax system to account for it. Okay, then...let's talk.

    November 18, 2013 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  25. OurConstitution

    "Yes we can!" It's all Bush's fault.

    November 18, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
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