November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
1 year 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. JoeRice

    And the looney left still believes in Obama despite all the shenanigans he's pulled and the dishonesty he has shown, the incompetent and blatant partisan manner in which he has governed thus dividing the nation even more and yes it is still all George Bush's fault. Liberals...humbug.
    .

    November 17, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. carlos

    Throw the liars out!

    November 17, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Larry L

    @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.
    -------------
    Bush's lie cost 4,500 Service-members their lives – with over 37 thousand wounded.

    November 17, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. lauradet

    Wow! CNN is allowing people to comment.

    Obama did explain...it's just that no one is listening

    November 17, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  5. Bart

    @ Tampa Tim: It was actually about 500,000, not 5 million. Also, virtually all the FL recounts (hanging chads, etc.) show W won, barely. Look up "Electoral College" sometime. SCOTUS did the right thing and Al Gore–of all people–accepted it graciously.
    @ JY: the old "Bush lied" mantra is getting old. If u r referencing "weapons of mass destruction," Bush had plenty of company (both parties, foreign leaders, etc.) holding the belief ("fact"? no) that Saddam had WMD.
    Sigh. I just wasted 5 minutes trying to educate morons.

    November 17, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Larry L

    @loadmaster3

    It never ceases to amaze me to read the posts that are still trying to lay blame on Bush!
    -------------–
    Not so much... People are reminding you about the lies Bush told to get 4,500 Servicemembers killed. Those deaths were in fact his fault but right-wingers have a problem remembering those facts. Most voted for him twice!

    November 17, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Birchview

    The best I can tell, you can certainly blame Bush for the lack good Intel that finally surfaced on the WMD's, but Bush could only react to the Intel he was provided, no matter good or bad. He certainly wasn't in Iraq looking on his own...

    On the other hand, Obama knew darn well that folks would be losing their insurance and that folks certainly wouldn't under any circumstance. He lied straight away because he wanted the people to support his new signature law, period.

    Even talking about Busg at this point is grasping at straws but it's just wrong to claim these are equal mis truths. bush was wrong but had no way to know if the Intel was right or wrong. His mistake was believing his team. Obama, he simply lied for personal gain, and, in fact, it worKed for awhile, but like all lies they eventually blow up in your face. Especially when you have repeated it fifty times. Integrity lost, period.

    November 17, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  8. bilbfit

    The plan acronym should be changed to SWAIFOB. Screw Working Americans In Favor Of Bums.

    November 17, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  9. davecu

    "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."
    This president lied intentionally to skrew Americans and STILL get re-elected.

    This has nothing to do with the color of his skin but with the content of his character.
    The man has NO character.
    Can that NOW be seen?

    November 17, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  10. JSTC

    I'm not Democrat /nor Republican ; just a middle-of-the-road- American.

    - "Obamacare"...just that word has been used by the 'media' a trillion times...it's called the ACA – Affordable Care Act

    . Whereas, obamacare is already a negative pun against the President. - The dumb United States of America just doesn't get it sometimes; [we] country thrive on negativism..24×7. The media wants 'press; headlines, breaking news etc. - Keep in mind the Affordable Care Act; was primarily made for a universal type health program for [47M+] Americans that need health insurance.

    Second, the ACA was intended to raise [Medicaid] profits and expand the program –but: they had to call it 'something; and they needed to cut funds from other sources to fund it. - Simple enough...and this program would allow and pay for the poor or those who qualify.

    Where this went awry; simple. – Media decided obamacare is a scary word and a threat to the American people; businesses et al. - Mostly, the ACA allows a leverage type insurance premium or no premium funded thru other sources and somehow in ten years will balance itself out...that's a good (10) year plan.

    Then GOP decides to attack Obamacare, bring it down like a Nazi flag; and make it a political football in every aspect.

    You have to ask yourself: where has the ACA effected anyone so far, where does the ACA effect your coverage at this juncture...and where does the ACA effect those who qualify for it?.......Insurance companies have an annual 'open season' every year....every year your insurance company makes major changes, updates, revisions, upgrades and price hikes to everyone's policy...this is the time of year –you need to make or submit your data changes and/or add-ons, supplements etc. -- Why is that so hard?? ....Your carrier has to follow certain rules according to the law; no other industry complains about this ..just the insurance industry??? –Duh??

    If your policy is canceled or being canceled –there are more loopholes that you thought; inside your policy. If you're being reorganized within a group policy; it's probably that your ins carrier decided to jump ship or jump on the wagon and utilize this time to 'transparently make those changes anyway...

    .NO INSURANCE COMPANY, holds premium stable nor at same pace each year....they are in the 'RISK BUSINESS"...they take precautions and whine all the time about it. - INSURANCE INDUSTRY...somehow the worst industry ever created...but it works and we need it....but you pay high premiums, accept the changes, have to have it and mostly can't afford not to have it.....

    We as a country need to support a 'universal health care system'; support what the ACA is actually trying to accomplish...it will be the best thing for America since Social Security......we need to mke insurance industry competitive, one for all and keep business enterprise on track.

    The next industry that needs adjustments and competitiveness is the mighty 'oil industry'....and when will this ever happen.?!

    November 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. Steve

    Let face it nobody can choose to keep the health care insurance they want. They can only choose what is offered and that is controlled by (1)insurance companies (2) employers for the majority of people. At the very least insurance companies now have to offer a minimum level of protection.

    I think the anger is more because people are faced with the reality that they have no control over what is offered and they are directing that anger at the President. In the future people can count on a minimum level of insurance. Lets remember that health care insurance was in a bad place for many– reduced services and increasing premiums long before the ACA came into effect.

    November 17, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. HenryMiller

    "And this is a sound bite that the President probably needed to take some more time to explain to the American people,"

    If he had, Obamacare would never have been passed. It was "a culture of sound bites" that made Obama lie, it was a deliberate intent to deceive.

    November 17, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  13. NYVeteran

    So Obama makes a mistake, and a website doesn't work right, and over 100,000 people who couldn't afford it, still get healthcare. Bush makes a mistake on WMDs in Iraq, and 6750 kids are dead, Afghanistan is still not safe and Iraq is as stable as a tea party conservative's mental health.. And just who's administration was the abject failure?

    November 17, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Richard Braswell

    So Clyburn, at what point did you realize that the president was communicating with the dreaded 'sound bit'? Did you read the bill before you voted for it? Is your staff exempt from AHCA? Are you going to blame outrageous insurance premiums on the insurers? In advance, can you specify other things not well covered by the president in 'sound bits'?

    November 17, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. tm1946

    I knew it could not have been the fault of Pres O. Those pesky "sound bites" are un-American.

    Got to wonder how stupid the Democrats think the public is?? Pres. O makes speech after speech and never knows what is going on in the US or Internationally. He must be walking around the White House looking for a Snickers Bar.

    November 17, 2013 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  16. B

    You cannot simply regain trust after you have lost it. That is a myth.
    You may regain some trust, but no one will fully trust you again.

    November 17, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. commonsenseperson

    Littletingod2013, yes, it does. According to Sebelius, the insurance companies were canceling to meet ACA requirements.

    November 17, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  18. srcactus

    Interesting, We see a story about the evasive sound bite use of information to bias the passing of a partisan bill and the comments refer to Tea baggers and Bush, neither of which participated in what has become a fiasco, by the camp followers of the partisans that acted in concert to avert the will of the majority. Talk about dumb and dumber!

    November 17, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. tom l

    Oh my goodness, I got a junk haircut. Can Obama help me please?
    I also have a junk credit card. Help me Pres!
    I have a junk sandwich to eat today. Guide me, President O!
    I have junk jeans. Can you help get the right ones?
    I have a junk phone plan. Whatever shall I do, Pres?
    I think I probably also chose junk toothpaste! Lead me, Mr. President!

    I know that I definitely have some other junk stuff. I'm sure they'll be able to tell me what it is in the near future.

    November 17, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  20. cbp

    There is an answer to this crisis. The Affordable Care Act is replaced with a bill that allows all Americans to opt into the same healthcare insurance that members of Congress have and at the same percentage of the premiums that members pay.

    All Americans over 65 are entitled to medicare at a reasonable cost.

    All Americans have healthcare coverage and we have the same policies of those we elect to Congress. We also pay the same premiums and the federal government(taxpayers( pays the rest. The insurance companies give everyone a fair rate and a fair deal.

    November 17, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  21. Zondar

    75 million cancellations to come in 2014. Remember the employer mandate is delayed by a year – replace 2013 with 2014:

    “The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,” wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the Federal Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and become illegal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

    November 17, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. Wv

    So now they were just soundbuts that we're not full explained.? Not only did the liar In chief say dozens of time that if you like your plan and your doctor you can keep it. He followed up these statements using phrases like "period" and " end of story". These words implied to the American people that there were no exceptions. No if ands or buts. He blatantly lied and many news sources have shown that the administration knew for years that this would happen. Obama is a liar and a fraud.

    November 17, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. asdfasdf

    why didn't they just create a whole new tax and fund Medicare for people "without insurance"...that would have been more honest about what is being accomplished, not required a silly 350 million $ web site...but now the gov't is guaranteeing a huge amount of new clients to insurance companies who will then turn around and "pay"...we've just funded a middle man and what do you think the insurance companies are going to do? skrew us even more.

    November 17, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. asdfasdf

    why didn't they just create a whole new tax and fund Medicare for people "without insurance"...that would have been more honest about what is being accomplished, not required a silly 350 million $ web site...but now the gov't is guaranteeing a huge amount of new clients to insurance companies who will then turn around and "pay"...we've just funded a middle man and what do you think the insurance companies are going to do?

    November 17, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. ruth

    Is he kidding ? There is no way this person can actually explain himself out of this one,of course I did not believe he did not know about anything that is going on in this country since he took office...this man whao supposedly has a Harvard degree,went to Columbia University and trust me knows the law ,him and his wife were lawyers did not know about this law.....no one is that inept ....He can skirt the truth ....Benghazi,he lied,NSA ,he lied,The IRS,he lied,Fast and Furious,he lied and now Obamacare....HE LIED.....I as an American will say it ,even if the news will not.....and this person is now not trustworthy....he can go around the world again ...only this time he can apologize for the wrong he has done....do not ever apologize for me again,I did nothing wrong ,but he did

    November 17, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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