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. Veritas

    A great Washington Post analysis on why the end has come for the Democrats no matter what happens with the ACA "fixes" from here on out. Sorry, guys...was nice knowing you...

    Post writes – "So even if the Web site does work a year from now, it won’t matter because Obamacare will be unaffordable. Those losing their plans right before Election Day will be in the same bind they are in today. Except there will be potentially millions more of them than there are today.

    There is little Obama can do to repair this mess. If his “fix” fails, then millions in the individual market will lose their insurance coverage on Jan. 1, causing a health-care catastrophe in a few weeks. If his “fix” works, then millions of people in the individual market will see their plans canceled a year from now (along with millions in the small-group market) — causing a health-care catastrophe right before Americans go to the polls.

    As Obama and the Democrats are learning, there’s no magic reset button when government screws up one-sixth of the economy. Obamacare isn’t just a health-care disaster for the American people — it’s a political disaster for the Democratic Party."

    November 19, 2013 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  2. gary

    Republicans aren't smart enough to make this up guys, it's real. Say what you want, but the ACA doesn't add up. It may sound great over a beer, but the numbers don't work. The only way this works is by screwing millions of Americans into paying for the insurance of others. If that's cool by you, then support the ACA. If you don't like it, vote against it in the coming elections. It is interesting that the whole ACA deal has gotten so bad that liberals have fallen back to irrelevant whining like the comments above.

    November 19, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. willhaas

    The White House being "sorry" is totally meaningless.

    November 19, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  4. rob

    Wow. I've seen CNN called lot of things. But catering to the gop with their articles??? Ha. You guys are mental.
    I cannot believe that I'm about to do this but I commend CNN for even mentioning this.

    November 19, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I guess she could have just kept the health care she had..... oh no wait Bahahahahahahaha – you get what you vote for

    November 19, 2013 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. Mel


    Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository was law too but the Obama andmin stopped the funding for it.

    November 19, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Jagger

    it's a mix up. She get good, affordable coverage in the end.

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. lauradet

    I am still signing up, just waiting for all the bugs to be fixed.

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  9. Wowsers!

    How is this the GOP's fault? They su c k for sure, but this isn't on them. Gurgly .... this is not a 'glitch' ... you can not give a project of this complexity 6 weeks to integration test before production release. There are serious issues here. After 30+ years in IT, many spent around internet development, they tried to cheat the testing and got bit....hard!

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Scott

    This woman should have kept her mouth shut, now there will be republicans looking to use her and democrats trying to dis-credit her. Either way her life will be turned upside down by idiots on both sides of the aisle.

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Data Driven

    I suspect CNN is getting some hate today for their tabloid tactics; hence no comments in an hour.

    Sorry boys, but you can't fight the seethers! Stop doing stupid things, and we'll leave you alone.

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. David Steele

    Yes, fix the needed glitch. Begin impeachment hearings tomorrow.

    November 19, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. PJW

    Another lie from Obama...At least he is consistent.

    November 19, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Jack

    Just make her a Congress person and she'll have free insurance and retirement benefits.

    November 19, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Anon

    Wow, to the above three comments. Partisan much? Obamacare is, at least so far, an undisputed failure. How is it possible that you can't see this?

    November 19, 2013 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I tried signing up and my insurance is WAY to much. I would never be able to afford it.

    November 19, 2013 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. CryBabies

    @Spinnit...News is news regardless if suits your taste or not. And whats with calling everyone that does not agree with you a Teatroll? One Big Yawn!

    November 19, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  18. Steve H.


    Absolutely hilarious that CNN goes so far as reposting articles from earlier in the day or yesterday or earlier in the week in order to recycle the nonstroversy. Milk that GOP/Teatroll nontroversy teat for all it's worth, CNN. Still thirsty? Have no fear...they'll invent a new for you tomorrow.


    Stop this GOP garbage, get moving. Fix the needed glitch. ACA is a Law.


    I'm sure the none existent Republican plan will help her.

    What's hilarious is you stupid liberal tools can't own your own party's massive failure!

    November 19, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    It's going to be funny when people start receiving the fees for not having insurance because they cannot afford it, nor the fees.

    November 19, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Independant

    The non existent Republican plan should be get a job and pay for your own health insurance in a free market. If you don't like what the insurance company is charging, then be an entrepreneur and start your own insurance company and offer cheaper rates.

    November 19, 2013 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  21. John

    I wonder what % of AMericans would prefer to not have pre existing conditions covered where they do not even have to give out their medical situation or history...........Is this information that you want someone else to know about you ahead of time? What % would prefer that they get terminated after they have exceeded an arbitrary lifetime coverage cap on their policy.........A typical young leukemia patient would only last 6 years before being terminated on the pre Obama Care coverage..............A guess a lot of Americans would prefer to go bankrupt from these lifelong medical costs.

    November 19, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  22. Richard Sanders

    Either CNN has decided to stop with the one sided reporting, or this story is just to big for any News Agency to ignore. Even ones with very little creditability.

    November 19, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Nets369

    As big as a disaster as my Brooklyn Nets

    November 19, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. LogicalSC

    Sorry...this ignorant low-fo voter got Odumbized...

    If he is willing to throw his own grandmother under the bus to get elected, then frankly he isn't going to give a rat's behind about the rest of you Obamessiah worshippers and wil lose not a whit of sleep when doing it.

    November 19, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    Obama uses her for his own purposes, then dumps the bad news on her afterwards. her rates willbe much, much higher than expected.

    Yup. Really nice guy, Obama.

    November 19, 2013 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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