November 17th, 2013
10:20 AM ET
5 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. uncdig

    "i really believe Americans are deserving of explanations" – wrong – they are deserving of the TRUTH!

    November 17, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Wes


    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?
    Don't forget the 2500 dollar reduction for a family policy. He lied about that as well.

    November 17, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. ken

    Sound byte or not a lie is a lie. I have been saying the guy has been promising stuff ever since he was a candidate that he had no power over. How the public bought it is beyond me. Everybody was too busy trying to make history rather than make good choices.

    November 17, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Ron

    All our media offers are sound bites. Very little meaningful discussion of issues or policies takes place. It's sad but true that, either the American public wants it, or the media assumes we want it, but mostly what is offered is entertainment, sensationalism, and sound bites.

    November 17, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. whitep

    Oh, come on. We have a terrible health care system. We know it. The politicians know it. The world knows it. We need to change if our citizens are going to be able to have health care. Sound bites. Well it takes time. It will take money. But we can not stop trying to improve it. You realize that all over the world for over a hundred years people have been trying to find the cause and cure for cancer and have not. So improving our health care will be slow but it does not mean it can't be done. And instead of complaining and blaming, why don't the politicians work to make it happen? Congress wrote and passed the bill so they own it as much as Obama. When is Congress going to own up and actually do something instead of campaigning and showing up on TV to complain? .

    November 17, 2013 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. unblvble

    unblvble that the main media still giving this president a long rope and a pass on his lies. Hope American people show their smartness in 2014 and 2016

    November 17, 2013 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Sandy

    I get so upset reading how this is the President' s fault, it's not! First of all this Affordable Health Care Act should of been in place for at least the last 50 years ( or one similar)!!!! The country CANNOT AFFORD the existing system plain and simple. The status quo has been allowed to stay in place due to gutless politicians unwilling to rock the boat because of special interest groups and whiners. They have given up responsible governing in the hopes of being re-elected! Come on America, it's time to Cowboy-up and register for medical insurance......instead of placing your health burden on the Country's book and future generations! As for all the bugs in the website, hello Every major company has had problems with their websites when starting new programs. Heck, where I work when we switched systems we were down for nearly 2 months! Oh by the way, the need for insurance was brought home to me during the last couple of days, got kicked by a horse and broke my arm a cast from my fingers to to guess what that cost is without insurance?!

    November 17, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  8. srcactus

    For the fans of single payer, How's that single ACA web site woikin' fer ya?
    There is only one check and balance that is reliable, multiple sources or comparison of information.
    Shopping the competition exposes all of the secrets.

    November 17, 2013 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. Cory111

    How difficult it must be for the "Obama Bashers" out here when the best they can do is beat up on their keyboards in total frustration, now you know how Issa feels. I wonder if it's really about ACA or could it be something a bit more colorful?
    Viva Obama.
    Hillary 2016

    November 17, 2013 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Woodrow

    "If you like your health insurance, you can keep it. PERIOD." No qualifier. No IF. I got my letter last month. Self-employed and now self-insured. No way can I afford the plans that the exchange had for me. 1,140/mo with a 12,400 deductible. I'd have to shell out 25K/year before a dime of insurance kicked in. It's a good thing we're healthy!

    November 17, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  11. Florida Voter

    Clyburn says it's just a problem with sound bites. Actually, it was a problem with the President's mendacity.

    November 17, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    what a joke

    November 17, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  13. R.P. Abbey

    "Paradise lost, Paradise regained." Unfortunately there is such a thing as poetic licence, this does not extend to politicians. We have a right to expect the truth, unfortunately that is a rarity with politicians of all stripes.

    November 17, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. Offacough

    The same liberals who spent the last four years selling Obamacare have now fled to Simgle Payer.

    Nonsense. You screwed this up, you'll screw anything you do up.

    We need decent regulation to prevent predatory practices, prevent collusion, and ensure that the insurance contract is upheld. .. But beyond they, we need free market solutions that encourage competition across state lines.

    True freedom is getting my insurance wherever the hell I want, not some single payer ball and chain.

    November 17, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  15. Offacough

    This is yet another example of where Romney was right.

    I'm not even a Republicsn, but he sure saw all of this mess coming. We should have listened.

    November 17, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. J

    They all lie or blame others for what comes out of there mouths! Obama if you check your facts by the way did not!!! Get the popular vote the 2nd time and his little buddy's put him office, not me or most of America!! Fix the election system not healthcare!!!!

    November 17, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  17. NorCalMojo

    I like how he apologized that people were dumb enough to believe him.

    November 17, 2013 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. george t hibs

    Assuming major insurance companies are even willing to re-write canceled policies (almost unfathomable) havign such coverage re-instated only to loose it again in 10-12 months is NOT with Obama keeping his promise. No wonder Native Americans do not trust the government, politicians like Obama screw the people every time.

    November 17, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. PSYmuffin

    IIt's sad that "If you're explaining it, you're losing it" is one of your greatest dislikes you can find in Washington. The American people could give you a far more lengthy list of dislikes negatively impacting their lives inclusive of sham politicians such as you and your colleagues.

    November 17, 2013 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  20. john.deatherage

    If President Obama had been honest about ACA, people would not have bought into it. And now they are literally not buying it.

    November 17, 2013 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. helicohunter

    He explained it in sound bites because that's all the average American can understand. It was clear to anyone paying attention that certain insurance plans wouldn't cut it under the new plans. Still, he should never have put it in such black and white terms. That's all on him. The plans that are being cancelled were crap to begin with. They gave people a false sense of security that they would be covered. My cousin is a self-employed cancer survivor. She hasn't been able to get health insurance for years. She was very grateful to be able to sign up for Obamacare (and yes, she succeeded).

    November 17, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  22. jedibez

    Obama did not sell it in sound bites. the des bought it in sound bites

    November 17, 2013 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  23. Dave - Phx

    The democratic house and senate, drafted, voted on, and approved this plan. Don't try to jump ship and act like Obama owns the whole thing alone.

    November 17, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  24. chris

    politician breaks at eleven

    November 17, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  25. Tony in STL

    Our President has the WORST supporting cast I've ever seen! He's done an excellent job, however the people around him have been totally ineffective. You will be fired! Our President doesn't have to worry about that, now does he? How sad. God bless our President and the US!

    November 17, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15