November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
9 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. SGT Rock

    Wingnut liberals believe Obama was not a baldfaced liar even when video after video clearly show him deliberately lying to the American people. They also believe ACA is affordable even when medical premiums go up 300+% for many. They also believe it is constitutional for the President to personally modify federal laws at will. They also believe that nanny state is needed because we are too dumb to make adult decisions on our own.

    November 17, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. John

    "We need to pass it to find out what's it in." – Nancy Pelosi

    Tampa Tim, having affordable health care is not called "controlling the people". Millions of people HAD affordable health care. Obamacare is taking that away from them and forcing them to buy insurance on the 'official' exchanges. There you have your control. Of course, since the exchange is patently incapable of allowing the MILLIONS who are losing coverage from signing up for it, Obamacare is responsible for causing people to LOSE health insurance and the coverage it provided them. And the Democrats OWN this fiasco.

    As for Bush winning the election, well, what can one say. If the Democrats who voted improperly in Florida were outsmarted by a paper ballot, well, perhaps they shouldn't be helping to select the President. And, by the way, Presidents are not elected, ever, based on the popular vote.

    November 17, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Alex

    Haha, Dems get caught lying and completely screwing up and all they can do is try to bring Bush into it.

    Can't wait for this to hit each one of them during elections next year.

    November 17, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. name. willard

    Democration are keep lied lied lied story what about healthcare
    Amercian want keep out of demorcrat obama

    November 17, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. I Can Read

    I wonder if Obama will also apologize about his apparent embracement of spying on Americans. Also, don’t forget the Obama administration’s argument before the Supreme Court to legalize and expand the usage of warrantless GPS tracking by ‘The Authorities’. This should enlighten even those that think it is simply a carry over The Shrub’s policies
    Also, don’t forget to embrace the results of this economic recovery that resulted in the top 1% wealth growing by over 26%, while the rest of us are rewarded with a 10% decrease in net wealth. And then we can discuss how much the average person pay has increased.
    The above are both issues that the Democrats regularly used for election purposes against the Repugs but Democrats now minimize their own involvement.
    Obama and the Congressional Democrats are the BIGGEST HYPOCRITES EVER!!!!!
    A unhappy Democrat that will likely vote Repug just to express my dissatisfaction since just stating the obvious and pointing out these poor results does little to sway party officials!

    November 17, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Mr. Feverhead

    "...also blaming the media for not fully explaining the new legislation"

    I guess it depends on what media you watch. I'm sure JY and Tampon Tim had no clue. Blame Bush is a coping mechanism. I hear he's no longer president. You should look into it guys.

    November 17, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. ikrbs

    what major event of his presidency has he not lied about?

    November 17, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  8. wait til it happens to you

    wait til they start doing your medical care in sound bites.

    November 17, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Richard Right

    This wasn't an oversight requiring explanation. His statements followed discussions between ACA policy advisors and political specialists as to what should be said and if explanation was appropriate. The final decision; lie and lie again to get re-elected.

    November 17, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. jojo

    Obama is just very ignorant, I work for a electric utlity and Obama talks all this wind power stuff ,he is clueless, wind power is a joke folks, it takes serious energy to supply electricity. If everybody would cut off their air conditioning and cook with wood an have one light bulb in your house and even then wind power wouldn't be enough, wind turbines never pay for themselves.

    November 17, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    Yes, the soundbite of you can keep your insurance didn't always happen – to those people who had crummy policies to begin with that were sub-par. It's not the President's fault that all those insurance companies chose to dump those policy holders and blame Obamacare instead of modifying the policies and making them actually WORTH the premiums being paid for them.

    Folks need to grow up and start dealing with the reality that insurance companies were hiking rates every year to the point that businesses could no longer afford to cover their employees and were sticking it to people when they were the most vulnerable – including denying life-saving treatments and procedures because some insurance company bean counter said that person's life wasn't worth it.

    November 17, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. mike

    Free stuff down the street... Okay now that all of the liberals are running down the street lets get the intelligent conversations going.

    November 17, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    @oldsarg: How is changing the law so a pre-existing condition doesn't disqualify you from insurance "controlling the people?" Or making it so your kids can stay on your insurance until they are 26? Or not losing your insurance because you get sick or give birth to a special needs child? Or lose your house and all your savings because you maxed-out your insurance benefit?

    Obamacare also made it so 80% of the money insurance companies collect actually goes to healthcare services
    instead of being funneled to "stockholders" (many of whom are officers of the company whose compensation contains
    huge amounts of stock).

    Obamacare relies on the private marketplace to provide healthcare at affordable, competitive prices: how is that
    "controlling the people"? Sounds like capitalism to me.

    November 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. SteveinLVNV

    Now I know just why Pelosi said , “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.”... They (or just selected members) knew full well what was in it!! And the messiah kept on telling the same LIE over and over, "you can keep your insurance policy", etc, knowing it was not so! Maybe OWEbama will blame the teleprompter for the lie!

    Anyone heard from Harry 'We won't negotiate' Reid lately, or is he in hiding??

    November 17, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. ThinkAgain: The GOP owes our nation $24 billion

    @oldsarg: Obamacare made it so 80% of the money insurance companies collect actually goes to healthcare services instead of being funneled to "stockholders" (many of whom are officers of the company whose compensation contains huge amounts of stock).

    Obamacare relies on the private marketplace to provide healthcare at affordable, competitive prices: how is that
    "controlling the people"? Sounds like capitalism to me.

    November 17, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Old Sam

    As a 45-year Democrat, I can tell you that I'm offended by the lies of the president I help elect. Yes, I help elect him twice on the basis of his promises. It is been hard to swallow.

    November 17, 2013 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  17. Grego

    Tamps Tim, if W wasn't elected for the reasons you say then that would mean Obama didn't win either.

    November 17, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  18. newsjet

    Love it. Blame the victim.

    Obama handed out sound bites and it is the listeners fault for not asking for more explanation. When was the last time a regular person could ask a president anything? Everything gets filtered through his handlers lest he be asked something he can't answer.

    November 17, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. abnguy

    The biggest shoe has yet to drop. I noticed on our benefits website for my company that none of the plans they had previously will be available next year because they did not meet Obamacare regs. That means there will probabley be a doubling in our medical out of pocket or more each month. With family groups already paying up to a quarter of their salary for health care that will be a huge increase for working families. The left is in big trouble with working families next two years.

    November 17, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. Stating the Obvious

    Yeah, right, the "problem" was that Obama didn't get in front of the cameras enough over the last 5 years to "explain" things. What total lunacy. This clown should be run out of office. What was left to explain? Obama ended his statements that we could keep our healthcare plan and doctor with an emphasized PERIOD. He TOLD us there was nothing left to explain PERIOD. Truth is Obama and the Democrats are the biggest LIARS ever seen in this country PERIOD.

    November 17, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Independent_Joe

    Politics is a tough game. W & Cheney had to say what they did to get us into a war they wanted. Obama said what he did to protect the uninsured. They both thought the means justified the ends. Both believed in the values that supported that conduct. Values drive strategy which drive tactics. Execution and managerial accountability is a skill set. We saw W's & Cheney's during Katrina or did we see their values?

    Getting caught up in the day to day weeds is easy and plenty are paid and incentivized to do so. Some are just small minded due to their upbringing and education. God Bless America.

    November 17, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Richard

    Never have, never will believe this idiot !

    November 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. DanE

    The problem wasn't his using sound bites, the problem was that his sound bites were bald-faced lies. He knew that 85% of the people were happy with their health insurance and would not have supported him if they thought his program was going to affect their plans. The real promise – motivated by political expediency – was that his plan was not going to touch existing insurance plans at all; it was only going to provide insurance for the uninsured and reduce everyone's cost by $2500 per year. The Democrats ran on that lie and perpetrated the greatest fraud in US history.

    November 17, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    yes, but he never admit that he intentionally lied. He'll never do that.

    November 17, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. lb309

    "...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"

    Wrong ... he said "you won't have to change your plan, PERIOD. " This means with NO qualifications at all, period.

    November 17, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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