November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
4 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. DrMantis

    They dems have to lie to the American public to get what they want, control over you.

    November 17, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Dan

    Why are the Dems upset with the Bill they passed? Didn't they do the research, and read it before passing? Rep Clyburn, you and your colleagues are as much to blame for not ensuring citizens were protected and not mislead.

    November 17, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. DrMantis

    Oh my goodness, I just realized I have "junk" insurance...please President Oblamer, save me!!!!

    November 17, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. Republiker

    The inept President is just more proof when you waste your vote on the Democrat Freeloader Party, we ALL lose.

    November 17, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Johnny DC

    This legislation had two clear goals:

    1) Government takeover of the health insurance market by way of unfair competition restraints on existing private entities, to create a system where young healthy people are bilked out of their hard-earned money and forced to pay into a system that subsidizes the elderly, sick, and unemployed.

    2) Using #1 above, to grow the Democrat base by forcing more people into a state of dependency, in which only the federal government has the ability to save their mediocre lifestyle.

    It's as simple as that. The rest of this mess is just the fine implementation details designed to accomplish the above.

    November 17, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. GARY

    Obama never explains anything until he can find someone else to point the finger at. Can anyone explain how this President keeps from impeachment? Face it the Democrats think the Republicans are just plain stupid enough to buy his CRAP. If they can't get this bold face lie overturned they will never be trusted again Democrats or Republicans.

    November 17, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Dictoators....

    can be elected. Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Porfirio Diaz (Mexico), Charles Taylor (Liberia), Manuel Noriega (Panama), Rafael Trujillo (Dominican Republic), Islam Karimov (Uzbekistan), Sukarno (Indonesia), Benito Mussolini (Italy), Alexander Lukashenko (Belarus). Literally, that is just a small list of the dictators who have been elected to power.

    This doesn't mean that I support Rick McDaniel's view point (I think it's a tad extreme), but don't go around believing dictators can't be elected.

    November 17, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Rachel

    Doesn't matter how he sold it, he told a HUGE lie and now he and the rest of the democrats, who didn't read the bill to begin with, are paying a price.

    November 17, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. bear

    "You can keep your insurance, period" may have been a lie or just another incompetence by a disengaged and unaware president.

    "What we said was ..... " is a deliberate lie. 1000s of videotapes prove it.

    November 17, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. JY


    November 17, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Morerightwingblather

    So all comes down to the terminology used, and that's about it. Health insurance requires a new policy each year. Insurance companies term that as a "renewal" of the previous year's policy rather than a "cancellation" of the previous year's policy. However, it's essentially the same thing regardless of the term used. Most customers are not getting a carbon copy of the previous year's policy. The insurance company can make any type of change they choose...cost, coverage, conditions etc...and the customer has to decide if they want to take the offer. You could easily say that the customers effected by the ACA are being asked to "renew" under different terms, rather than calling it a "cancellation" of their insurance.

    November 17, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Tampa Tim

    Maleate – I am accustomed to vile behavior from the baggers, not so much from the president. I think back to Jackie Robinson when you right wingnuts did everything to ruin his career and his life, and yet he was not the last Black baseball player was he?

    November 17, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. JacksonAction

    Let them have Obamacare!

    November 17, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. Tom Devine

    This guys whole Presidency has been about superficiality and sound bites. And, to compound the situation, the media have been satisfied with this inadequate level of detail. Journalism is dead but I'm hoping that a "lessons learned" examination will resurrect it. Probably this will happen the day a Republican takes office....

    November 17, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Scott Moore

    If the American people had the guts to force Congress to dump their insurance, paid for by the American people, and go through the exchanges, then this wouldn't have happened. I called both my Senators to complain that after six weeks I still can't register on the broken exchange website. An assistant at Maria Cantwell's office said that her staff was all required to register on the exchanges so they would be familiar with them, and all five people in that office were not able to register due to site errors. But for them, and Congress, this is an academic exercise. For the rest of us this is serious business, costs thousands of dollars, and it's broken.

    I can honestly say now that after waiting six years for this promise to reach fruition, it has done nothing for my family except cause us great headaches and thousands of dollars. Premiums are still rising, and deductibles are still through the roof.

    I call the exchange every day now, because site errors won't let me finish. The phone message simply says "due to high call volumes we cannot take your call right now. Please call again at another time". And it hangs up. Emails go unanswered. In six weeks and numerous emails and phone calls, not a single response.

    This is clearly not the hope and change I was waiting for. It's worse, not better, and Congress allowed insurance companies to keep jacking up rates every year with NO congressional oversight since this law was passed, so rates are much higher than they were four years ago. Thanks for nothing Barak. Thanks for nothing Congress.

    November 17, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Sumsanity

    Yeah, sound bites like "If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan, period". I guess lies are called "sound bites" now.

    November 17, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  17. Realist

    Obama lied. Story over. You don't get to keep your plan. Realize, the healthy middle class must support the non-working sickies. This is a huge expansion of health-care welfare.

    And Tampa T: look to your southern dems, not right wingnuts, for keeping down Jackie R and others. It was republicans which passed the 1964 civil rights act, against southern dems.

    November 17, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. ru serious

    Well, what did you expect? Mr Prez was wildly unqualified for the job. We had hoped that he had gained some in the 1st term but that didn't happen. He seems to like the perks of the position but not the actual business of running the country. Please people, vote for competence next time not celebrity Oprah endorsed empty suit.

    November 17, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  19. oharris30

    The GOP complaints. ACA and entitlements. Well, GOP Congress if you all get your butts back to work and help restore the economy which is your job and NOT the president's then people would not need ACA. They could work and buy their own insurance and let the ACA be for those people it was meant to cover. All the folks who lost your policies, well those of you who have life threatening illnesses, guess what? you were going to be dropped anyway regardless of ACA. And for those people on FS and other entitlements, if the GOP got back to work and pass a jobs bill like promised in 2010, hey you guys lied, then people wouldn't need entitlements. See how simple it is. Put the same amount of time in your jobs as you are trying to repeal a website or healthcare plan, then we would be the greatest country on the earth. It's really simple. If my poll numbers were 9% I sure as hell would be changing my policies.

    November 17, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. steve

    Mark my words, it's only just started to get bad. I would say within three months, even the Democrats will call for a full repeal. If they don't, this will be the Democratic equivalent of the Jonestown massacre. Anyone want to drink the cool-aid anymore?

    November 17, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. interesting

    Well..."dictator" check your history again....Hitler was elected.

    November 17, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    Obama lied to gain political advantage, before the '12 election. Impeach him, as soon as possible.

    November 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. MrGman

    Yes, renew under different terms. Twice the premium and a $6000 deductible.

    November 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  24. America, our country is bankrupt...cut the spending

    Stop wasting all our money, cut the deficit, pay back the debt. Live within our means, America. Put people in the government who will cut costs and downsize the federal government.

    November 17, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Jim M

    Sound bites are all the American people can understand.

    November 17, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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