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. Trev

    derrr.....good one oblamer!

    November 19, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    ACA, please. It is not affordable. It is only hurting the middle class. This has nothing to do with being a Republican or a Democrat. It's a fact.

    November 19, 2013 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. textee

    Obama is an America-hating, fundamentalist, utopian, Marxist demagogue, ideologue and zealot who isn't qualified to flush a toilet and repeatedly lied to his low-information voters about the disastrous Obamacare socialized medicine scheme.

    November 19, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Thomas

    “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.” – then speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi. Oh boy, we found out what is in it alright.

    November 19, 2013 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Bing

    This is just the beginning. Sorry she had to go through that and hopefully she can find a viable alternative. The government needs her to pony up to pay for those who can't so we might as well get used to it. ITS A TAX.

    November 19, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. chris leak

    Am I really reading anti-GOP rants as comments? Is there no shame in you people. This debacle is 100% owned by the Democratic Party.

    November 19, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Gotta love the one Obamacare Fan

    To "Sniffit", "Gurgyl" and "Anonymous", who I am sure are all the same person, I think it is hilarious that you feel so passionate about what you consider to be non-issues with Obamacare. Obviously you haven't tried endlessly to sign up for it. Quit trying to deflect this mess onto the Republicans. It is the Democratic Mess, and simply admit it..

    November 19, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. tom l


    Here are some repub ideas.

    Brings greater fairness to the tax code by extending tax savings to those who
    currently do not have employer-provided insurance but purchase health insurance on
    their own. This provision would provide an “above the line” deduction that is equal
    to the cost of an individual’s or family’s insurance premiums.
    • Provides immediate substantial financial assistance, through new refundable and
    advanceable tax credits, to low- and modest-income Americans.
    • Recognizes that many Americans who have not yet hit retirement age but may be
    changing jobs or have lost a job often face higher health care costs. To help those
    aged 55 to 64, the plan increases support for pre- and early-retirees with low- and
    • Recognizes that one of the largest obstacles for many small businesses when it comes to
    retaining current employees or creating new jobs is the cost of health insurance. The
    plan allows states, small businesses, associations, and other organizations to band
    together and offer health insurance at lower costs.
    • Implements comprehensive medical liability reform that will reduce costly,
    unnecessary defensive medicine practiced by doctors trying to protect themselves
    from overzealous trial lawyers.
    • Provides Medicare and Medicaid with additional authority and resources to stop
    waste, fraud, and abuse that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
    • Creates incentives to save now for future and long-term health care needs by
    improving health savings accounts and flexible spending arrangements as well as
    creating new tax benefits to offset the cost of long-term care premiums.
    • Gives financial help to caregivers who provide in-home care for a loved one.

    November 19, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Captain Awesome

    Ooohh, CNN seems to have touched a nerve with the libs on this site. I feel bad for this woman. She was so convinced that obamacare would solve all her problems and she was even showcased around like a prize bull, only to be let down just days after. Ouch! How's that hope and change thing coming? Obama continues to disappoint and only the true liberal die-hards are still defending this slow moving train wreck known as the ACA. Brace yourself, America. The other shoe has yet to drop. Just wait until people with Employee Sponsored Health plans start receiving cancellation notices. The torches and pitchforks will really come out and take to the streets.

    November 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. kouli

    Mr. Stupak who is really an idiot said on a FOX NEWS today that the American people should of known that it is not a free lunch.He blames the people for the lies of the obama administration and his goons.Pay up DUMMIES and vote DEMOCRATIC.

    November 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Taken4granted

    I am not sure if I would be sympathetic to Sanford or mad that she is pulling strings from the WH to take care of her predicament. What does this tell me, that I will cry foul, make news headlines and then see where it gets me to take on the WH, looking for appeasement. How about the 5% of the population getting their insurance coverage cancelled?

    November 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Malory Archer

    So CNN, will you ALSO be posting an article about the people who lied on faux noise about being hurt by the ACA? I realize reichwing hero raygun killed the fairness doctrine, but you're only further hurting your already questionable credibility with your obvious bias.

    November 19, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  13. Bob, NY

    No matter what this president does, these political jerks will naysay it! The man said he wasn't perfect, but that he is trying very hard to better our nation against very negative obstruction. Instead of just bashing, come up with some CONSTRUCTIVE critisism that will better our people. Most of my military veteran family members are rolling over in their graves as they watch what these people, that call their selves American, are doing to our country. For what? ...greed? religion? power? anger? illiterate? What kind of future are we leaving our heirs?

    November 19, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. Retired

    What makes anyone think she could afford any insurance. Either way she is screwed. We have to remember nothing is FREE Where's her ex no child support?

    November 19, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Would You Look at That

    Gurgyl, you are such a partisan hack. ACA is a mistake. ACA is, at best, a fuster-cluck. Deal with it. Has been since it was enforced upon the American people without proper deliberations.

    November 19, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Aaron S

    The original article link in the middle of the article gives the facts that this administration doesn't want out (why did CNN suspend comments and repost the article without her numbers?) She thought she was going to buy a gold plan at $189 with subsidies; instead she would have to pay $390 for a silver plan with no subsidies. Now, in addition to still not being able to afford health coverage she will have to start paying a penalty next year. Liberals love Obamacare- until they get a dose of economics and basic math. My family will be paying ~$500 more a month in 2014 for worst coverage under ACA.

    November 19, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. SNLWriter

    We need Obama on our team. We can't even make this stuff up.

    November 19, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. J in Denver

    Slavery was law. Many tax credits/loops holes are law. Second Amendment rights are law. It is quite amusing how "law" only means something when your type approves of the law's intended outcome...

    November 19, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. Carol

    Gee, I'm sorry you can't take care of your son that requires special care, but we just didn't know what we were doing when we made this life saving health plan for the 15% of our nation, so you 80% will just have to make it on your own. Your government has spoken.

    November 19, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Ollie

    Q. How do you when know King Barry is lying?
    A. His purple lips are flapping.

    November 19, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. MIchael

    I take this comment "I'm not getting insurance unless I pay more money than I'm willing to pay," as... The Government Owes Me Something. The Government is not here to take care of you, that is NOT what being a Citizen of the U.S.A is about.

    November 19, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Bob

    This trades one group of uninsured people for a larger group of uninsured people
    100,000,000 people lose insurance get rid of it quick

    November 19, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. pro_affordable_health

    I can't say I am surprised. I saw this coming before this healthcare bill was passed. I was upset the way did it. They did it behind closed doors and forced it way through with out any support from the republicans. Not a good way to do things and this has played out as such. Such arrogance at display here. Affordable healthcare is too expensive for those who need it the most. I think we need to scrap this plan and start over and do it right. Why rush something so important. This needs more study and more time.

    November 19, 2013 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  24. Josh

    Love how any story that talks about how Obamacare is hurting people is just "Partisan Trash" to all the Obamabots out there. They even go so far as to say this is just "CNN propaganda against the President" like our friend Sniffit said. Are you kidding me? CNN has been Obama's ally since the beginning. Now that they actually have to report on how bad things are falling apart you act like you guys have been the victim in this all along. Give me a break.

    "My leader can do no wrong" (even when he admits this is a failure) Their blind support is what got him elected a second time. Why would they stop now? The Kool Aid must be pretty tasty for you to still be blaming this on everyone other than the man that created it.

    November 19, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. What a joke

    Bush was the decider. Obama is the?

    November 19, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
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