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."

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soundoff (375 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    @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.,"

    The law itself doesn't cancel the policies...Obama's administration, under his watch (Department of Health and Human Services) made the mandate that if insurance premiums changed above a certain percentage "and" did not meet all of the specs of the ACA, the insurance policy itself would be against the law. So, tell me...what's a figure on insurance policies that went beyond the percentage premium increase that the HHS Secretary signed off on??? It's above 90% of the health insurance premiums in the US. So now all that Obama's administration had to do was ensure that these particular policies didn't offer "everything" that the ACA requires.

    This pretty much means that if you had a high deductible insurance plan that you found affordable...you will keep it, if you are one of the lucky 10%. My particular high deductible plan is no longer being provided. I ran my own healthcare clinic. I don't need all of the bells and whistles in my insurance and I don't want to pay for it. Now, I "have to" have all of the bells and whistles that I will never use.

    This is what happens when the government mandates things...people that don't want it...are forced to take it and pay the extra for it. I feel like the US is becoming the new Venezuela. Next thing we know, the government is going to take over the stores and force everyone to have an 80" flat screen, yet the people that are going to pay more than fair market value for it will be the people that could actually afford it to begin with.

    November 17, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. Matt

    Let's get real. This wasn't a matter of the president failing to communicate something clearly. It was a matter of the president deliberately lying to Americans to get a bill passed.

    November 17, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. tom l

    Where's Sniffit, DMFO, Rudy, Dutch, rs, The Real TP, Wake Up, Mallory, Ol Yeller and the rest? Seems like they are outnumbered by the "sockpuppets", right Sniffit?

    November 17, 2013 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. tony

    Single payer charges on all people:

    $0 under $1000/mo, 12% pro rata on next $4000/mo. 2% on income over $5000/mo. No co-pays or other charges.

    Full, timely medical cover, (far higher longevity, survival, genral health and satisfaction rate than the US) on everything except for cosmetic surgery. Elective procedures have lower time priority. Private Insuarance (extra) availalke for de-luxe private hospital stays, private specialist/celebrity doctors, etc.

    Having lots of experience of both sides, I don't no anyone on the single payer who would swap to the US (Reagan-who-cares) "system"

    November 17, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. midas360

    Obama and the Democrats blame everyone but themselves. They never take responsibility until it affects their reelection. It's time to vote these numskulls out of office.

    November 17, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. HowCanYouBelieveAWordHeSaysAnymore

    Obama = Shameless purposeful practiced liar. From Illinois, the state where the last two governors are in jail, and the current Governor was the Lt. Governor under Rod Blagojevich. In Illinois we grow corn and corrupt politicians.

    November 17, 2013 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Bill

    What about the sound bite that said 'the beauty of this plan is it pays for itself'?

    While he's at it can he explain that lie too?

    November 17, 2013 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Zeke

    Keep talking Pelosi, maybe this time you will read it before you pass it. There is no way around the fact that all this turmoil is because Obama and Pelosi and Reid passed this legislation and could not implement it due to it's horrible content. Wait, it is going to get worse for democrats. Wait until the no show on signups happens. Obama will have to come to the congress with his hat in his hand for more taxpayer money. He has already admitted to the biggest screw up since Watergate.

    November 17, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Bill

    What about the sound bite where he said 'the beauty of this plan is it pays for itself'?

    While he's at it can he explain that lie too?

    November 17, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. Just

    Anyone that actually has a job will be paying more than before for this debacle.

    November 17, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Zeke

    When the democrats try to blame the insurance industry for problems in the next few weeks, the Insurance industry can point out that no one would be talking about these issues if Obama had not lied and then failed to supervise the rollout. This so called "fix" is due to the failure of Obama and the democrats. It is all on the democrats and 2014 will show the result.

    November 17, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. JV63

    "Paradise lost, paradise regained. When you lose something you can find it again,"

    Yeah, in 2016...

    November 17, 2013 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. ru serious

    Sound bites made him do it, oh man, don't know what 's worse...that this President is totally incompetent or a liar. It is one or the other...or maybe both. Really sad part is a sizeable group of people that will believe any excuse this guy makes, we're in deep trouble as a nation.

    November 17, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  14. WeAreAlmostCyprus

    Lost credibility and trust? How can you lose what you never earned in the first place?

    November 17, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. jim

    So now the #3 Democrat says that "the media did not a good enough job of explaining Obamacare"....when, in fact, Obama and the Dems deliberately lied to win an election. On top of that, the Dems control 80% of the media anyway. Nice try...but no cigar.

    November 17, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. mgkdrgn

    With all due respect Rep Clyburn, you don't need to "explain" a lie ... it's just a lie.

    November 17, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. tony

    REAL FREEDOM is being able to change your job, or being able to start your own American Dream business without worrying if you'll lose your medical cover. Or knowing that if you get unfortunately cancer or a serious injury, you won't lose your house.

    Single payer really means Freedom, like the PATRIOT ACT really means "BIG BROTHERr".

    November 17, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. tony

    Single payer charges on all people, including whole families with just the one income.:

    $0 under $1000/mo, 12% pro rata on next $4000/mo. 2% on income over $5000/mo. No co-pays or other charges.

    Full, timely medical cover, (far higher longevity, survival, genral health and satisfaction rate than the US) on everything except for cosmetic surgery. Elective procedures have lower time priority. Private Insuarance (extra) availalke for de-luxe private hospital stays, private specialist/celebrity doctors, etc.

    No completely unecessary parasitic "middle-men" medical insurance companies to add their obscene profits to every transaction.

    Having lots of experience of both sides, I don't know anyone on the single payer system who would swap to the US (Reagan-who-cares) "system"

    November 17, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  19. jharry

    Come on. They all knew exactly what they were doing. Selling low info voters a bill of goods. Now it comes home to roost.

    November 17, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. SpgfldTom

    Interesting comments, now it was the fault of the media for Obama lying to the American people. Who will the Democrats blame next week when the Prez lies again? Reminder, Democrats, you voted for this disaster now you own it. If I were Rep. Clyburn I would be making a reservation to rent a UHaul after the mid-term elections.

    November 17, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. Thos Hartmann

    When President Obama first said that you could keep your health insurance, the statement was true. Later it became false, and he should have stopped saying it. Once the law was passed, he did not need to convince anyone of anything, so it was not necessary to make the false statement. Still, it WAS true when he first said it!

    November 17, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. rrock

    Lets face it, Obama lied repeatedly and delayed the implementation for political purposes. Sadly, all presidents lied or obscured the truth for political purposes.

    November 17, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Jim

    "If you like Obamacare, you can keep it."

    November 17, 2013 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. David

    Maybe he should have explained that he was lieing!

    November 17, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  25. Bee Lade

    He won the election in sound bites.

    We been living in a sound bite world since the mid 80's.
    All they give you. A Bite, no sustenance, just malnutrition of facts.

    How bout we fix the 12 dollar single aspirin insurance companies charge, the corruption and bloating of costs that has made going to a normal doctor almost impossible without being gouged?

    November 17, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
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