November 19th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
10 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. JJ

    "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."

    There will be many, many, many more mistakes to make people "believe" they are getting a good deal, only to find out that their primary doctor is a proctologist...

    November 19, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  2. Craig

    Obama's War on the Middle Class is now in full assault. This woman is just the latest victim.

    November 19, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Pragmaclast

    There was no need to shutdown the government over the ACA. It will drown in a pool of its own failure.

    November 19, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. oharris30

    So all of a sudden we are suppose to believe the Insurance companies who have taken our money and dropped us in the time when we most needed them??? What is this crap! The insurance companies are fighting ACA tooth and nail. Most of the companies most likely are headed by Repubs. Everybody is so in a rush to call the president a liar and try to repeal or destroy this healthcare that millions of folks need because the repubs and insurance companies are destroying everything the president is trying to do for folks who can't afford insurance and who, like me, are tired of paying high ER bills!!! Get a grip people and stop believing the GOP lies! Meanwhile, there are no jobs bills passed or before the congress which would resolve all these issues. If people were able to get back to work, then we could pay our own insurance coverage. This is a bunch of crock and frankly I am more than sick of the repubs harping on this healthcare issue instead of trying to amend it or help get the American people back to work so we won't need entitlements. Now with all the disastrous storms once again ravaging our country, the government programs are going to be more strained. and why? because the GOP and TP are concentrating on a healthcare bill instead of helping folks get JOBS like they LIED about in 2010. The audacity of calling the president a liar when they won in 2010 also on a LIE!!!! Wake up folks and tell these creeps to get back to work. They care nothing about their low 9 percent poll number. Know why?? Because they are only in Washington for their own cause.

    November 19, 2013 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. New Rules

    Being in charge of the USA is a big job. We chose a small man. The proof is in. Obama is calling it the ACA, he wants his name off this titanic failure. This is so funny. Squirm beech, Squirm, enjoy the show. Its gonna be rich.

    November 19, 2013 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  6. J

    There needs to be a true independent party that will not make back door deals with each other before America goes on life support and we can't afford it!! And to the people who say its law and move on must be that 1% that have all the money they can handle and put these idiots in office!! Shame shame!! But remember what goes around comes around!

    November 19, 2013 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  7. kelly

    vote for republicans and you lose your heathcare

    November 19, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. Curly

    This has been the whole history of the ACA law. It was conceived in secret, given a difficult breech birth, nurtured with lies and now the democrats wish that they had aborted this spawn of Satan before any one had ever learned of the pregnancy. But now the liberals are the parents abominations which may wind up killing many of its parents.

    November 19, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Tell it like it is

    ""The Exchange would like to sincerely apologize... " Somehow, "I'm sorry" just doesn't seem to cut it.

    November 19, 2013 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. airjackie

    Media doing a great job and even people are paid to base Obamacare. The States that refuse the Health care plan seem to have citizens who are either using the plan or basing it. Fox news does a great job along with CNN in asking people to send their horror stories then a real Journalist checks it out and learns it was a lie notice no correction. But the people quietly getting their affordable heath care plan with no one in the Media/Press reporting it are the Tea Party and Republican staffers and their family/friends. While Americans hear the horror of the Law the bashers are getting the affordable coverage. But as many Republican/Tea Party lawmakers have said Americans believe what their told by Fox News and even today many believe Saddam had WMD/Mushroom Cloud. Success was seen when Americans blamed Obama for the Katrina disaster and he refused help to victims. If it is not broke don't fix it.

    November 19, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. Joe Seattle

    "I'm not getting insurance unless I pay more money than I'm willing to pay." So Obamacare was good for you when you thought it was a welfare program you'd be cashing in on, but now not so much, huh?

    Get some integrity, and get a life. Is anyone signing up for Obamacare who actually believes they'll be a real paying customer? (You can probably guess the answer.)

    November 19, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. cindy

    Please Liberals, PLEASE, sign up for Obama Care.
    Please, give your SSN, your spouses SSN, your children's names and birth dates. Put all of your personal information on this website. Hopefully, they will get to you first. Hopefully.

    November 19, 2013 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. pk

    I know I'd be ballistic........

    November 19, 2013 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. mutantsubhuman

    Has Pelosi read it yet?

    November 19, 2013 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Ron L

    COLD HARD FACTS.....Healthcare in America is convoluted, complex, confusing, and over priced. This is the reason there are going to be several people going through multiple steps before this settles down. You have three different powerful lobbies intertwined in this- doctors, insurance companies, and lawyers. None of them have a problem with blaming the other two groups for the mess the system was in that the ACA is attempting to fix. The key to all of this is we need to figure out some way to initiate some kind of competitiveness between the care PROVIDERS not the money handling insurance companies or lawyers. We have a LONG WAY to go......

    November 19, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  16. Kitty Litter

    I almost feel sorry for Obama. Almost.

    November 19, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. kelly

    Extend tax credits to higher uincimes and she will qualify. She makes giood money and pays a lot less than 9.5% of inciome for heathcare. If you cannot afford insurance you get tax credits, lower deductibles, and lower co pays. It is great this wonderful lady can afford her own insurance. Way to go girl!

    November 19, 2013 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. bryan

    keep obama away from me, that guys bad news. we don,t want him on our side

    November 19, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Steve

    Giving something away to people that didn't earn it has unintended consequences. Who knew?

    November 19, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. BO

    Kinda sick really.

    November 19, 2013 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  21. Chuckles

    She falls right into that sweet spot – honest and hard-working parent who makes too much to justify government assistance but never enough to get ahead in life, aka, our middle class that politicians vow to help every 4 years.

    November 19, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. Bill Smells

    ObamaCon (aka The We Don't Care Act) is all a lie. Everything the White House said about it, everything the president said about it, everything the Democrat party said about it is a lie. Well, except Nancy Pelosi who really nailed it on the head when she said, "Let's pass this so we can find out what's in it". For sure, now we know what's in it, and it's a stinking ball of lies.

    November 19, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  23. Mike S., New Orleans

    I'm so ashamed that a U.S. president would lie to hundreds of thousands of Americans about their website. We need to get back to U.S. presidents who put other people's chlldren into their graves based on flawed intelligence, and the chance to make Halliburton the world's biggest oil company. Congratulations Junior and Dick. Sleep well.

    November 19, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  24. Bkrey

    Hey cry me some tears. maybe she can blame President Bush

    November 19, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    If Obamacare was going to be so great that everyone would love it why are we forced to buy it? Free market makes costs go down, forced purchasing makes costs go up and less choices. I agree with the pre-existing conditions clause and several others but frankly there was an easier way to do this. The people who pushed for this see it now and don't like it. Get rid of it before it is too late, nothing good will come of it.

    November 19, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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