November 19th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
9 months ago

Bad news for woman cited as Obamacare success story

Updated 2:53 p.m., 11/25/2013

(CNN) - Jessica Sanford, the Washington State woman cited by President Barack Obama as an Obamacare success story, received more bad news Tuesday. Officials with the state's health exchange checked on her case and said she will not qualify for assistance in buying insurance.

Sanford had written the White House last month after purchasing what she thought was affordable health care coverage on the Washington state insurance exchange.

Part of her message was read by the President at a Rose Garden event at the a White House on October 21.

Woman cited by President as Obamacare success story frustrated by sign up process

But in the days that followed that presidential shout-out, Sanford received letters from Washington state's insurance exchange, notifying her she did not qualify for a tax credit she was originally told she would be getting.

After looking into Sanford's matter, officials with the exchange admit they made a mistake calculating her benefits, along with those for thousands of other Washington state residents.

"The Exchange would like to sincerely apologize to Jessica Sanford and all those affected in Washington State by this error," Washington Health Benefit Exchange CEO Richard Onizuka said in a statement provided to CNN.

"Unfortunately, Jessica Sanford is one of the individuals who is affected by this tax credit miscalculation," he added.

A 48 year old self-employed court reporter and single mother of a teenage son with ADHD, Sanford said it's now unlikely she will be able to afford to buy insurance.

"I'm not getting insurance unless I pay more money than I'm willing to pay," Sanford said.

"I've always been in this middle place. I make too much but I don't make enough."

Sanford said after her story appeared on CNN she was contacted by a person who identified herself as a spokeswoman in the White House press office.

Sanford said the White House official offered to help "in any way."

Asked about Sanford's story White House press secretary Jay Carney said the administration regrets the mix-up.

"We are certainly sorry as we can be that Jessica is one of the folks that has been affected by this," Carney said.

Sanford, an Obama and health care reform supporter, said "yes, I do" when asked if changes need to be made to the Affordable Care Act to help people like her.

Sanford did receive a small measure of good news when she was told by an insurance broker her 15-year-old son is eligible for Medicaid. However, she said she will remain uninsured.


Filed under: Healthcare • President Obama
soundoff (345 Responses)
  1. duh

    Look now everyone just calm down ok?! We still need to pass it to find out...oh wait nm. What I ment was you can keep ur current plan....wait uh yes we can? Wow how embarrassing um, blame bush! Blame religon!!

    November 20, 2013 04:50 am at 4:50 am |
  2. duh

    Buwahaha yes we can, yes we can, lemme here u shout it from washington dc, yes we can!

    November 20, 2013 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  3. GaryB

    As a small business owner who has been self employed for over a decade, the ACA is actually going to be great for me. Currently, I purchase a business plan on the open market for my family. Coverage is terrible - high deductibles, a lot of exclusions, and they've raised the premiums every year, despite the fact that in nine out of those ten years we never filed any claims and paid all our expenses out of pocket (and in that one year, the insurance company only had to pay out around $2500 - a tiny percentage of the premiums we've paid out over the years). And our current "free market" insurance is expensive - insurance premiums currently eat up nearly 10% of my business profits. On the California ACA exchange, I can get a Bronze plan with about the same deductible but considerably more services covered (plus office visits that only require a co-pay as opposed to be 100% out of pocket) for about $1800 a year less than what I'm paying now, or for just a little more money I can buy a silver plan that cuts my deductible in half and covers a whole lot more. Basically, the ACA gives me the opportunity to purchase insurance at a cost that's at least competitive with the rate my larger competitors are paying, which helps me to be more competitive and gives me the ability to put more money back into growing my business. Whoever new that "socialism" good be so small business friendly.

    November 20, 2013 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  4. 1stlttightwad

    With all the croneyism of Obama and Michellsl friends and bundlers getting a fat piece of the Federal Money Pie coming to light this will be be the super glue scandal that WILL stick to Obama.

    November 20, 2013 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  5. bob

    Well if she quits her job and goes on welfare we can help her!!!! Very simple solution. She should not be so proud and haughty, wanting to work and make her own way. Barak and the Dems enjoy assisting the helpless, the simple, the lazy. If she can work let her work. If she can pay taxes let her pay taxes to help those who cannot work. If she needs medical help let her take aspirin. ACA forever!!!

    November 20, 2013 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  6. Rob

    I can fix this! Take "Affordable" out of the title!

    November 20, 2013 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  7. JJ

    What success story?
    This whole Obamacare has been built on a pile of lies.

    November 20, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  8. sweeper111

    Very disappointed in the whole fiasco. I really hoped it would work but was always put off by the undefined "affordable". I have looked , the plans are not affordable and deductibles and copays are high. A windfall for insurance companies. Its great if you get subsidized but costs too much if you don't. I will finally say it " I was lied to".

    November 20, 2013 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  9. Melanie

    Nowhere in the article does it say that she isn't able to afford the premiums without the tax credit, she just says its more than she is WILLING to pay, there's a difference....and a choice she's making. If you want to have a debate about whether or not the income limits for the premium assistance are ok that's another matter. Personally I think a single payer system like Canada or Europe is the only way to go...

    November 20, 2013 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  10. scootfl78

    This is the fault of the state and not Obamacare itself. Florida doesn't even have a state exchange, so I don't exactly know what this woman is dealing with, but in my experience with other matters, if you want something more inept than federal assistance, then look no further than the state.

    November 20, 2013 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  11. Wes

    All of this gets to be a whole lot easier to understand if you redefine the goals. Our previous presidents have made mistakes, fuged numbers and generally kicked the can down the road, but they were not set on destroying the US. It's difficult to understand how BHO can make the wrong decisions at every turn (cash for clunkers, coal restrictions, not allowing keystone pipeline, conveniently not knowing things, etc) if you listen carefully to the statement "America is the greatest nation in the world and I'm going to change it." His goal is to bring us down to the level of the 3rd world. After all, we wouldn't be able to afford our military if we didn't have any money would we?

    November 20, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  12. Mglepa

    I think we all want affordable, available healthcare for everyone. This, however, is clearly not the way to achieve it. Think we need some "smarter" people working on this.

    November 20, 2013 06:47 am at 6:47 am |
  13. Stephen

    This will be AHA's biggest hurdle. There is a huge lower middle class population that will make just slightly more than what is required for tax credits or discounts and they will be in the galling position of knowing that they are helping to pay the insurance of others while they can't afford to buy their own.

    November 20, 2013 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  14. FubarObama

    You couldn't have written a better script. It's like the keystone cops are running the show

    November 20, 2013 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  15. Maria

    Umm yeah they aren't sorry for her or the others they just screwed up, they are just sorry they made themselves look like a bunch of fools! What a gong show this is.

    November 20, 2013 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  16. Derek

    Stories like this are meaningless unless you post the costs involved.. maybe they increased the cost by $10?

    November 20, 2013 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  17. Mark

    Obama is nothing more than a liar from Chicago. Send him packing now.

    November 20, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  18. 1968billsfan

    So Obama lied when He said, "If you like your insurance you can keep it". But next, He said, look at all the people other than those, who are doing better and great with ObamaCare!!! He lied again. Shouldn't His expects have examined that lady's case in some detail to make sure that everything was okay? Nope, truth doesn't matter to the democrats. It is all about swaying public opinion for the moment- the truth never catches up to 70% of the people who believed the lies. So Obama lied again. This almost isn't news anymore. What is becoming true is that the dozen or more other lies that He has told are starting to get looked at and reconsidered by the general public. As Lincoln said: "You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time". Obama's sweet smile and "I trust you, you trust me" acting is now not working. Indeed, most people are starting to reject it for what it is. A sneaky, betraying butthead, who has made fools out of the publick.

    November 20, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  19. William Parker

    I can't believe I'm saying this....but it seems the GOP crazy congress was right about the ACA. I guess they were the only reps to read the thing.

    November 20, 2013 07:24 am at 7:24 am |
  20. Roxy

    Doh! Another failed attempt as socialism... ACA is a fraud

    November 20, 2013 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  21. P

    What everyone seems to ignore is that she wouldn't have gotten insurance before this act either. At least he is TRYING unlike every other president who was too afraid to touch it because of how sensitive of an issue it is.

    November 20, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  22. TonyGa

    Just another sheeple believing the "Snake-oil Salesman in Chief. More to come................

    November 20, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  23. charlie

    why only 105 post? This should be @ 10,000 by now. What are we trying to hide. I really do not understand why any issue that does not support or put our president in a good light is dismissed or hidden from view. I am very surprised that CNN actually posted this, since it does not support the more liberal tilted news in the first place.

    November 20, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  24. Patrick

    There have been groups saying for years now that this sort of story would be the result of Obamacare... considering how right we were I would say that if Obama decides to "stay the course" the next warning sign is going to be a dip in the economy that will most likely stable out before nose diving into another recession... Unemployment is going to start going up again due to employer cut backs, and wall street is going to tank due to money concerns based on decreased spending... ALL of this has been in the cards since day one... but nobody wants to listen until its to late.

    November 20, 2013 07:50 am at 7:50 am |
  25. Socalc

    The crash & burn continues.

    November 20, 2013 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
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