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. Eagle08432

    Yep, "Exchange you can believe in"!

    November 19, 2013 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. dirtdogs

    it would seem that this should be named the comprehensive care act. they're telling us that it is "more robust" coverage bc it covers things many cannot possibly benefit from personally (eg maternity, ped dental/vision, substance abuse) and yet the person sitting at the kitchen table paying the bills might judge the suitability of the product by its premium cost and the out of pocket liability. i've read that premiums have gone up an average of 40% across the country for individuals looking to buy equivalent coverage for cancelled policies (ours would be about 170% increase) but deductibles are rising by 26%. "folks" (i'm starting to dislike that word) want affordable coverage for the scenarios they're likely to face, not for scenarios everybody else may or may not face. it would be like requiring someone in CA to buy tornado insurance, or someone in FL to buy earthquake insurance. i was hoping for true reform, putting true insurance (i.e. protection agst financial disaster for the unexpected) within reach for most people at an affordable rate, delivered in a cost-effective manner. FAIL.

    November 19, 2013 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. Kampoman

    The ACA is mandated managed care. Managed care is only necessary for super expensive stuff like going into the hospital. The bureaucracy of managed care should be replaced with no contracts free market sold only to individuals/families rather than through employers so that it equitible to individuals, small companies and self-employed.

    November 19, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Galactus

    Obamacare is a train wreck and this is just one of many examples that will be in the news media for years to come as we all are tortured by this new law.

    November 19, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. Tony

    How long will this nightmare last?

    November 19, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  6. chris

    Obama continues to prove how unfit he is to lead. A socialist president will never be successful in this country despite the increasing population of government dependents with there hands extended to the taxpayer for handouts like beggars. The problem with socialist policies like Obamacare is that the cost burden falls on those who work hard for a living. Money is taken from those who earn it and given to those who don't. That is inherently un-American and removes the incentive for people to work hard. It also creates a dependent class that has zero incentive to work for themselves, the voting electorate of the liberal movement. As Thatcher said, the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money. Obamacare is headed this way. The question is how much damage will be done before it fails and how much more damage can Obama do before he leaves the white house. But the real tragedy of it all is that this idiot was elected twice by the electorate. You get the government you deserve. If you voted for this idiot, you deserve everything you get...suck it up...and leave the criticism of Obama for those of us who DID NOT vote for him.

    November 19, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  7. dave ramsey

    I really do not think Obamacare covers ...............bugs does it? it just covers them up. baaaa haha ahaahaaaaa

    November 19, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. Kampoman

    Pass a laws to reign-in malpractice costs, and costs incurred by docs and labs and insurance companies and government by forbidding contracts with providers for the all the small stuff in healthcare. The bureaucracy costs more than half of the services and has the effect of inflating prices. Let the doctor-patient financial relationship be free of contracts and natural market pressures will drive down the costs. Obamacare did the opposite.

    November 19, 2013 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. dpatt

    Once again on a show this evening a democrat said this was based on a republican program Romney care as he called it.
    Funny it has come to Republicans voting against it wanting it to fail, to now it was republicans idea from the start. Now that is how you put the spin on it.

    November 19, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. Lost

    The ACA did not fail. It hasn't even begun! What the heck are people so upset about?! All new systems have glitches, bugs, and downtime mishaps. Chin up Mr. President! You are a success!!!

    November 19, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. G_Edwards

    The true measure ACA is a complete and miserable failure?

    Pres Obama no longer refers to it as "Obamacare."

    November 19, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  12. GuestCA

    I feel this is just one testament to the fact that government cannot very efficiently run anything – Democrat or Republican.

    November 19, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. dana

    what middle class are you referring to? If 47% of our citizens rely on government assistance in one form or another, and another 47% believe the 47% in need are fakers and frauds and that they don't deserve your tax dollars. Well, then that leaves 6% to be the middle class. Get it? THERE IS NO MIDDLE CLASS LEFT. There are only the haves, who believe they need to make more have nots by getting more money onto their own pockets, and have nots, who are all really welled armed. So peaceful coexistence and wise use of our very limited resources or more guns. Your choice.

    November 19, 2013 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  14. victor

    CNN, Any idea why Jessica Sanford does not qualify for a subsidy? I hear that she has an income of $49,000 and the Gold Plan would cost about $4,800 per year (about 10% of her income). Is this true?

    November 19, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. jordans

    If my policy were cancelled I would have to take a policy that costs twice and much, more out of pocket. How is this supposed be helping people get insured, it is resulting in more people being unable to afford insurance not fewer.

    November 19, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. John Nobody

    smooookin... somebody stop me. this should be one of the election issues in 2014 and let Americans decide what they want. I am pretty sure you dont have votes of those people who lost insurances. lots of unhappy voters .

    November 19, 2013 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. herb666

    Since all Dems voted for ACA, all Dems up for re-election in 2014 should be relieved of their congressional responsibilities. Sorry doesn't cut it.

    November 19, 2013 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  18. jake

    The problem is that plenty of middle class Americans don't understand that the lawmakers think they are rich, especially on the coasts where cost of living is extremely high. I know plenty of people in CA with a combined family income of over a 100K that are barely scraping by. Washington looks at their income and thinks they can afford far more than they can. Only when you're putting half your take home pay towards a mortgage and all the other sky high costs in these types of areas, you can make good money and still be broke at the end of the month.

    November 19, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  19. chinaman03

    man, you guys just have 2 presidents back to back providing more materials than the stand up artists can have time to use them.
    we (your creditor) love you, man.

    November 19, 2013 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  20. Todd

    My policy cost more than my mortgage right now

    November 19, 2013 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  21. Todd

    1700 a month for family

    November 19, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. Jeffro211

    The most unfortunate outcome of this debacle will be that millions of Americans with pre existing conditions will be once again thrown to the wolves that are the insurance companies.

    As many laugh and make hay of the missteps regarding the ACA, others will suffer and die or lose everything they have in medical bankruptcies. God Bless America!

    November 19, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  23. Sum Yung Gai

    This is honestly getting ridiculous. If someone gets screwed by a Texas DMV, does cable news do a story on the failures of Rick Perry? Do Texas democrats cry foul, demand impeachment, and impede all government progress until DMV is privatized.

    Give me a break.

    November 19, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  24. Dorothy

    What is a self-employed court reporter?

    November 19, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  25. Jeffrey Feldkamp

    The powerfulness of the constitution seems to be compromised by mere oversight.The freedom of choice from my understanding seems to be in jeopardy. The american people declare the constitution of the United States of America as " the supreme law of the land and should not be abolished for economic reasons.This seems so unfair to the rights of the american people under the color of law. Respectfully.

    November 19, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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