November 19th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
12 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. Hippies get a job

    I feel bad for the woman but hey you put your trust in a liar like obama or madoff that is what you get.

    November 20, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  2. albert berman

    what a bunch of UNINFORMED people writing all these NEGATIVE things here … ACA is the SAME plan as IS working in the sate of Massachusetts already ..as well it was just as UNPOPULAR there as it now is in the USA ..however the vast MAJORITY of people there now are VERY happy with it … how can you dislike soup if you never tried it?

    November 20, 2013 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Obama is to quick to select his tear jerker propaganda stories.....is anything good authentic about the man?

    November 20, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  4. ernie

    Another fail for the worst president ever

    November 20, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  5. ernie

    We all know who is responsible for this don't we?

    November 20, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  6. carlin123

    I don't want to be told by MY Government what I'm supposed to do. I'll look out for myself thank you very much. So I will NEVER sign up for this Extortion Health Care Scam. And I refuse to pay ANY penalty. If you want to put me in jail for that, so be it. I hear in jail you get FREE heath care anyway.

    November 20, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  7. ironmike

    Only ones getting a subsidy are the congressmen and women making $174,000 a year and getting $10,000 for health care bet you don't do that well where you work.

    November 20, 2013 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  8. Technical Jargon

    this is Obama's "Mission Accomplished" moment

    November 20, 2013 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  9. Charles

    Abuse of Power: To be reelected President Obama blatantly lied to the American people about keeping their policies and the IRS targeted conservative groups. Now the NY Post is reporting that the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knowingly manipulated the unemployment numbers to show, falsely, that job numbers were improving.

    November 20, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  10. clarinet

    In the business world this is called the "bait and switch" tactic. Both unethical and illegal. Why isn't Obama in prison yet?

    November 20, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  11. James Williams

    Like many other citizens, I'm also in the middle. I make just enough money not to default on any payments, but not enough to get ahead. I don't qualify for any type of government grants for my children's education because I make "too much", but can't afford to send them college either. Sometimes, I fell that those receiving government assistance for housing, food, cellphone, college and healthcare are better off. I know a person who made more money from the government's welfare system than she did working a minimum wage job. So she quit her job to collect checks at home.
    The healthcare insurance system will in the long run, turn into the same as the auto insurance system. You have to buy it or face a steep penalty. This will allow the insurance companies to dictate their costs to you because you have no choice participate. Unlike your car that you can always pull off of the road-insurance cancelled; we just can't stop breathing…or maybe we can...

    November 20, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  12. FastpitchDoug

    This is a shame that exemplifies government ineptitude. ACA is a great idea, but this gross failure just goes to prove what Joe Average Citizen has always known. Public officials talk a good game, but can't walk and chew gum at the same time.

    November 20, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  13. fed up

    Even the success stories are failures! I would say this whole thing is a joke, but it is affecting too many people in a bad way to joke about. Personally, my employers policy from last year was cancelled, and the new one is $535 more per month. You cannot keep your old plan, and you are not saving $2500.

    November 20, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  14. LibsRLiars

    I'm sorry, but I don't feel any remorse for this woman. She got exactly what she voted for. It is always amusing to watch these low-information voters vote with the feeling of euphoria instead of voting with their minds and some common sense. If she has a hard time buying insurance already, then she should have some concept of not being able to spend what she doesn't have. Why in the world can a liberal not figure out that the same concept applies to our government is absolutely astonishing.

    November 20, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  15. JJ236

    The O, an incompetent hack from Chicago is pretty much going to kill the healthcare system in the US that working people have used for many years. This includes company paid healthcare benefits.

    November 20, 2013 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  16. LibsRLiars

    Everyone one of you CNN bloggers that voted for this disaster, you are responsible 100% for what's coming.

    November 20, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  17. LibsRLiars

    If you want to correct the disaster, wait this out for a year and don't buy into the marketplace. The system will collapse on its own at that point. The govt can't collect the fee/tax from you unless you have a tax refund coming. Plan it out to get little to no taxes back and they can't collect.

    November 20, 2013 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. David G

    Oh yeah, then we have President Biden to deal with!! We have to find a method in the Constitution that would allow for a recall election, a do-over, or something that would reflect that abject lying should never be allowed when it comes to electing our leaders. As for the lady metnioned above, she DID do her homework. The story said it was the Computer that got it wrong. Is there no one willing to stand up and admit, this was wrong and the only way to fix it is to go back to square one. I don't think anyone will argue that the insurance biz wasn't screwed up for a long time.
    They had way too much power and made billions in profits. But we need a system that pegs the price of a medical service to its actual cost plus a reasonable profit. Is that not what this country was built on in the first place? At least prior to all the revisionist history that is going on every day.

    November 20, 2013 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  19. mymoneymission

    And this should come as a surprise....how??

    November 20, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  20. LibsRLiars

    Looks like buried into the law is another bailout in the making. Under Obamacare, any insurance company that does not make a profit in the first 3 years, gets subsidized by the government. Simply freaking amazing. CNN are you reporting on this?

    November 20, 2013 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. jw

    The only success this law will have is to steal from your neighbors!

    November 20, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. Ed

    You got to love how she "loved and suported Obamacare" until it was HER that had to pay more for health insurance in Obamacare. Now she "agrees" that Obamacare has to be fixed! In other words she wants the government handout she was told she was "entitled" to. We have become a nation of "bums" looking for a handout. The only thing worse is the "government" taking from me to give handouts. The only thing worse than that is the government borrowing money to give handouts. The only thing worse than that is those that actually work and pay their own way elected the fools that are doing this.

    November 20, 2013 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  23. HowCanYouBelieveAWordHeSaysAnymore

    ObamaCare turned out to be ObamaFraud. Obama turned out to be just another politician from Illinois...aren't their last few Governors in jail?

    November 20, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. iski

    Seems obamas dog and pony shows are not the utopias he had hoped. This may be the result of giving trillions to incompetence but heck they are so smart and know whats good for us poor stupid masses.

    Do not believe me ask the democrat next to you, father government knows best and just shut up and eat your cake.

    November 20, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  25. theseconddavid

    This is what you voted for.

    November 20, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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