November 19th, 2013
04:34 PM ET
9 years 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. Hoagie58

    Jay Carney would have been best served, and most truthful, if he had simply said "We are sorry," and left it at that. Sorry, indeed.

    November 20, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  2. patty

    Perhaps President Oboma can help her out.

    November 20, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. stoutfiles

    ADHD is not a condition. Just stop giving your kid sugar.

    November 20, 2013 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  4. DJones

    This is the story of Obama Care in general. It was not created to help the poor or even those who are nearly poor, it was created to line the pockets of the Insurance companies. It forces those who could buy insurance by cutting other expenditures like a housing and newer automobiles etc to buy insurance without any subsidies. It takes those who don't make enough to buy insurance and leaves them uninsured, and to justify all of it they will help a few people by taking tax dollars and giving it to the insurance companies. People need to realize that Obama didn't create Obama Care to control or curb the greed of insurance companies, he created it at the request of insurance companies to facilitate their greed and control.

    November 20, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Molon Labe

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

    Welcome to the club sweetheart. You're not special.

    November 20, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  6. Bsmith

    what a mess

    November 20, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  7. Charles

    Americans are starting to notice that this president is not performing his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the law - and in this case, a law he and his party wrote.

    The Obama administration announced last July that it is not enforcing Obamacare's employer mandate. It has admitted that it cannot verify the eligibility of applicants for Obamacare subsidies. (Come and get it!)

    It says it will provide subsidies for those buying insurance through the federal health care exchanges in 36 states - even though the legislation nowhere authorizes that.

    And last Thursday, as congressional Democrats were panicking and supporting measures to allow people to keep their current health insurance policies, Obama announced that he would not impose penalties on policies that don't comply with the law.

    November 20, 2013 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  8. Veritas

    New numbers in from the states. In North Dakota 30 people have bought insurance through the ACA...and 35,000 have had their policies cancelled. That means that for every one person who has gained insurance more than a thousand have lost it! And this is a success? Really?

    From news station WDAY in ND –

    ""New information tonight, on the number of North Dakotans signing up for health insurance, under the state's federally-run marketplace," says the local reporter. "The insurance commission says just 30-people have signed up so far."

    "Three insurance companies are doing business in the marketplace: Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medica, and Sanford. Those 3 companies say more than 35,000 people are, or will be, losing their existing health insurance, because of Obamacare."

    November 20, 2013 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  9. Mr. M

    It must be terribly embarrassing to be a Democrat these days.

    November 20, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Mark

    Just saw a story on CNN with Ted Cruz. How passionate of him to be requesting the release of 1 person Iran had arrested, yet throw millions in Texas under the bus who don't have health care. He kept ranting about some 5 million who lost their health insurance because of the ACA. What I would like to know is how many millions have lost their insurance due to previous conditions, reached their limits or were just plain undesirable for the insurance companies? I be the number far outweighs the number of his talking point! He is only concerned with his image and that is it! Cudos for Cuomo for getting on him that it is his job to represent what is best for the people!

    November 20, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. Murphra

    "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." Why is anyone surprised by this situation. Mrs. Sanford, who do you think is subsidizing the healthcare costs of Obamas base? People like you and me. Solid lower-middle to upper middle class Americans. This is how redistribution works. Obama takes from those, like you, who are 'lucky' and get ahead and make 'too much' money. That money is taken and given to people who are truly in need of it, people who were not as 'lucky' as you, people who will show their gratitude by giving Obama their votes regardless of the problems it creates for ALL of America. You see when Obama and the rest of the Dems are beating their drums and talking about "sticking it to the rich!", they are actually talking about YOU! A single mother who earns $50k a year or the family of four who earns $100k a year combined. You ARE the new RICH. You are the people who will be hit the hardest by Obamacare. Please I pray people will begin to do the math. There are simply not enough billionaires and millionaires in America to 'stick it to'. So who is next? The middle class. That was the plan ALL along. I knew it. Romney knew it and was called a liar. Think about this simple fact – Obama could steal every dime from Americas billionaires and multi-millionaires and STILL not pay for one year of Obamacare's subsidies. How did you think just adding new taxes on the rich was going to pay for this? Now you know the truth. It was YOU all along. Sorry....

    November 20, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. Suckered

    Obama appealed to those who want freebies. Well, now how free is it? Poor suckers. We'll all suffer for it.

    November 20, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  13. Frank S

    The GOP should be pleased. I'm pretty sure she would have had to pay even more pre-ObamaCare, so they should be happy she has elected to not use Obamacare and rely on the ER again like millions of others

    November 20, 2013 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  14. Stevel

    No one is getting insurance unless they pay more than they're willing to pay, even before Obamacare.

    November 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  15. DJ

    Another one bites the dust!

    November 20, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Doug

    They are all believers until the time comes that proves they should have never believed. This government is a team not just one man. Don't be caught blindsided

    November 20, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  17. Mark

    To Murpha, The problem is without ACA you are technically subsidizing their unisured trips to the ER or hospital every time they go, and that costs a lot more than going to a doctor. I recall a number around $138 BILLION for 2010 in losses for unisured visits to the ER and such. Would you rather have limits on what Inusurance companies can make and not let them be the "Death Panels" to those who come up with CANCER and such? Or would you rather they have UNLIMITED REASONS to raise your rates, cancel your policy or cap your plan? I really think you need to think this one through and I also think you watch too much FAUX News!

    November 20, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  18. Disappointed in NJ

    Ii want BHO to work on fixing the aca 24/7 until this is resolved... and not keep wandering off to other issues

    November 20, 2013 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  19. Fademan

    When the media stops reporting only the news that reflect bad, we can move forward. Nothing in this story says how much she was paying before and how much she would have to pay now. Is this just the normal increase in premiums that everyone experiences each year anyway? How can you fault the President when the article says that the state exchange miscalculated and made the error? People need to stop feeding off the bottom of the boat of what's bad and surface up to the big picture of how the ACA will eventually help all Americans and our economy. Until someone comes up with a viable alternative let's do our best to make this plan work as a united country. We've been demanding better health initiatives for centuries and now have finally moved forward with something as a framework to make that happen.

    November 20, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. KARL

    Well I can't afford CAR insurance so I dont have that!

    November 20, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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