November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
8 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. Michael

    Mr. Clyburn sounds like the manager of a used car dealership. After you sold the customer a lemon, the customer now wants their money back so you want to "explain" why your lemon is not a lemon?

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

    Haven't you ever bought a lemon from the used car dealer before?
    Now you have !

    November 17, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. meki60

    its okay for Clyburn, he is exempt from this horrible plan. The president is a liar anyway you parse it.

    November 17, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  4. meki60

    President Liar has lots of help to de-lye the situation. Most of the help comes from people that are exempt from the plan.

    November 17, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  5. BoFo

    Clyburn, Pelosi and Hoyer are career enablers for Obama. Period.

    November 17, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. Reasonable Guy

    @Tampa Tim no forcing people to enter commerce is controlling the people. The ACA is complete disaster. The only people it helps is the poor and the rich. The poor because they get essentially free healthcare and the rich because this program is funded by a flat tax which essentially kicks down the ladder the middle class were climbing.

    Also, what is affordable about a $350 a month bare bones healthcare plan?

    November 17, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Tyler Durden

    Sound bites my 455. Whitehouse dot gov has all this time hosted it's own "reality check blog" section trumpeting these "sound bites" as evidence to debunk "rumors" (spread by all those crazy conservatives) that people would lose their insurance when the ACA went into effect.

    November 17, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Maryland Frank

    QUOTE: "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."

    What a farce. This should say ....plans in place before 2010 that at that time met all of the requirements of the ACA. Of course almost all plans did not. ex. requirement to provide contraceptives, etc. No matter how they try to explain it away, the American public was lied to. This is all about having us provide free health care to segments of the population that will vote for them.

    November 17, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Jon

    Great article. When I first heard of the whole "Obama broke his promise" hullabaloo, I knew this is exactly what was going on.

    November 17, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. j majorino

    Just wait till next year when the economy slows because people are paying for health insurance with what little money they have left. To have health insurance is great in theory but in reality when a family makes 60k a year and it costs 10-12 k for health insurance, about the same or a little more to own or rent a home, car insurance is out of hand if you have teens just starting to drive and we all know what gas, food, cell phone, electric and internet costs. I would say after taxes you have 46k now 30 away for a roof over your head fuel and insurance. It just won't work with any cash left over. Someone should figure out those numbers mr president. If you don't walk in our shoes you can't understand.

    November 17, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. Tyler Durden

    SOUND BITES? Really? Even the whitehouse website had/has a 'reality check' blog section that was/is selling the lie. There's plenty of room in a blog for more than a sound bite. But nope, the blog just repeats the lie because the ends justify the means. Apparently 3 years is not enough time to explain the truth... or too much time... because the truth would have been politically damaging to the Dems. But we should blame the media for being complicit for 3+ years.

    November 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. J-Man

    The president said one thing. Reality was different. That is not the problem with "sound bites". It is simply called a lie. That is the problem with so many politicians. They don't even know what the truth is anymore. To simply complicate things he said "if you like your plan, you can keep it. Period.". By saying "period" that means that that is the end of the statement.

    November 17, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Mike

    All the talk is about the people with cheap individual policy who lost them. This year, my company dropped it's HMO/PPO plans because they are considered cadillac plans under the law and will start to be taxed at a 40% rate starting in 2018. My company decided to get ahead of the change and convert us to a traditional 80/20 plan for 2014 with a fairly high deductible. Anyone else who has an HMO/PPO plan is likely to get hit with this same kind of change over the next couple years since the cost of most HMO plans exceed the threshhold set for the 40% tax which no employer outside of the public sector would even consider playing. Things are going to start to explode when people who are used to paying small co-pays find they are suddenly on the hook for 20% of the cost of the visits.

    November 17, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. littletingod2013

    Does the ACA explicitly call for health insurance companies to cancel existing policies that don't meet the requirements for any new policies? If it doesn't then Obama didn't lie. The health insurance companies are just doing what they've always done, cancel policies so that they can make more money.,

    November 17, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  15. Steve

    Only in America can a president lie, get caught lying, apologize for the lie, and there are STILL people who believe the lie even AFTER millions of people lose their health insurance. For God sakes, even CNN is fed up with the president.

    November 17, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  16. Logic in L.A.

    So many things to point out, so I'll try and do it quickly. Those cancelled, may in fact end up with cheaper or better plans as many have found out. Those suffering the most form this are in those states that opted out of the new Medicaid plan. And if this is affecting 5% that's roughly 16.5 million people- Before the ACA there were over 40 million that could not get or afford insurance. Maybe that 5% will realize what the other 23.5 million went through for years, but they can still get insurance!

    November 17, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. lb309

    When you say ...Period!, it means that there are no further explanations or qualifications necessary.

    November 17, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. libsarenotsmart

    Affordable healthcare? Then why are the insurance plans more expensive? And which healthcare procedures are available at a lower cost today than they were yesterday?

    November 17, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. el dono

    Is our President a fraud?

    November 17, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. JL

    A 2,000 plus page law! That's our problem. No one fully understood it. Why are we making ourselves subject to laws when we don't know what they will accomplish/destroy. This has been the GOP's skepticism of the ACA all along and it turned out to be very warranted. If you can't create a law in 100 pages or fewer, it's too complicated to be efficient and beneficial. Why do we keep letting these bureaucrats destroy the freest country in the world?

    November 17, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. loadmaster3

    It never ceases to amaze me to read the posts that are still trying to lay blame on Bush!

    November 17, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  22. Arnie Schults

    Income shifting is not affordable health care.

    Making more quality doctors and more treatment facilities would go much farther.

    Forcing medical colleges to lower or offer FREE tuition to those wanting to be general practitioners for the next 20 years would make more doctors.

    Why are you making one "class" fund the other "class" other than to garner votes from those we are conscripted to subsidize?

    November 17, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. BO

    The AP documented 26 lies in Obama's book alone. Why wouldn't he lie through his teeth to the American people about Obamacare. If he had told the truth he would have lost the last election in a landslide.

    November 17, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. BO

    A new Quinnipiac University survey says American voters disapprove of Obama's performance by 54% to 39%, the worst marks of his presidency.

    Source the CNN article directly above this one.

    November 17, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Chris

    All presidents lie. That being said, stop trying to divert and blame. Obama lied to achieve a goal, he knew if he told the truth ACA would not exist.

    November 17, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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