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. Margi

    What we don't seem to want to accept is that no one–especially large organizations such as insurance companies–willingly gives up power or profits. There's always a fight!

    November 19, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  2. Tracy Marshall

    The Whitehouse is in a no win situation with regard to this case. They cannot help this woman individually as the world is watching very closely. To so would set precedent that would trigger an avalanche of cases of people with similar cases they'd have to help. To help this woman, the'd have to restructure the whole shebang which I know they are unwilling to do. And if they don't help this woman, more and more people who supported Obamacase and voted this president into office will come out of woodwork and into the mainstream president and state for all the world to hear - they were lied to.

    November 19, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  3. Bummed out

    Laid off from corporate gig after busting my hump for years for a defense company due to sequestration cost cutting. Now Obamacare forcing the purchase of unaffordable insurance or suffer a penalty. I am already homeless, living in the room of a relative until things get better, but there isn't even the glimmer of hope for the future...and forget ever enjoying a peaceful retirement. This country is a disaster thanks to our politicians on both sides. What;s happening here is the USA is economic crime-economic terrorism.

    November 19, 2013 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  4. wakeupamerica

    I am just waiting for President Obama to find a way to blame his predecessor.......

    November 19, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  5. Tim Strongarmsmen

    The only people who benefit from Obamacare are the 1% who own the insurance companies, and the freeloaders. If you have a soul, Obama has sold it to the devil.

    November 19, 2013 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  6. ug

    LOL! just shows that lies will always catch up to you...

    November 19, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    OBAMA needs to go back to where he come from he has single handley shut down the goverment twice and managed to throw the country in a tail spin and now this crap they have now is nothing but a joke so if you don't get this then he will make you pay a fine and still make you get it and some people has to get rid of there own insurance and get his i'm just sick of it I wish we the people had the power to throw him out it is really sad that we have the power to vote them in why can't we throw him out make it say a 90 day grace period like your employer would do to you and get rid of you if you don't work out it is to bad we can't and would be for the people that did not vote for him oh take that back it's for every body

    November 19, 2013 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. Jerry

    ""I'm not getting insurance unless I pay more money than I'm willing to pay," Sanford said." That's pretty ambiguous. My insurance premium is a huge chunk out of my paycheck and the rest of our household budget is based on what's left. Is insurance important for this woman with an ADHD child, or not? If it's not important enough for her to buy insurance, I don't see why my hard earned tax dollars have to support her and her family when they get sick/injured. I am paying for their "free" emergency coverage and it angers me when she chooses not to buy insurance.

    November 19, 2013 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. LM

    I read the earlier detailed story about Ms. Sanford. I don't think she fully appreciates her cost even now. She said she can't qualify for subsidy for $390/mo silver plan, which means her income is likely above $50K (but I'd guess not much higher since $200/mo is a big deal for her). Under individual mandate, then, she will have to pay $500 tax penalty next year (not $95 as they want you to believe; it's $95 or 1% of your income, whichever is HIGHER), and in a few years 2.5% of her income for that. That's more than $1000 in additional tax for her.

    She wants it "fixed". But there is nothing to fix - this is the law as it was written and intended. Obamacare has always been about hurting a lot of people a little bit to help a much smaller group a lot. It was never a good deal for middle class people - those making $50K a year cannot easily fork out 6-8% of their income to buy health insurance (that's the amount AFTER the subsidy).

    Boy how I wish Obama had been honest with the people back in 2009. Instead, he dangled all the benefits in front of the people and hid all the costs. Is it okay to lie to push something through, even if it's for noble cause (for the small group of people who are helped, it may indeed be life-and-death)?

    November 19, 2013 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  10. SkippyCanCan

    This is kind of funny. If the GOP allowed Obamacare to get rolled out before the election (without their support of course, but without undue delay), this whole snafu would have occurred in time for them to possibly win the Whitehouse. Got to love the irony.

    November 19, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. tze

    if obama like obamacare he can keep the obamacare

    November 19, 2013 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. Pastelaso

    and to think that these dems are still behind this buffoon of a president.

    November 19, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  13. Diogenes

    Just the beginning of the end.

    November 19, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  14. flexibendi

    Sooo what is the difference from what she was paying before? Love a story devoid of all facts.

    November 19, 2013 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  15. cj

    One more line from the used car salesman that is proven to be false...
    When is America going to wise up to this character?

    November 19, 2013 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. nuclear mike

    And who thought that the outcome for this woman would be any different than what it its...ALL lies to the Americna people!

    November 19, 2013 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  17. jr

    What there not telling you is the numbers include those that live off the rest of us and his signups include Medicaid, start listening to your Republicans, if we all do not buy it then it will fail that's what we want.

    November 19, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  18. jlh

    I keep asking the people that supported ONE program the government has that is run efficiently and under budget. Not one person has come up with an answer. It is a huge mistake to put our politicians in charge of our healthcare. Period.

    November 19, 2013 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  19. Guest

    the 2012 election was a complete fraud.

    November 19, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  20. ludvig

    court reporter – I'm an engineer – my sister was a court reporter. She was making more money than me 5 years earlier than I was and she was 5 years younger. She's pretty well off and should be able to get unsubsidized insurance if she wants it.

    November 19, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. Dark Ages

    How do we justify Billions in foreign aid when our own citizens can't afford health care. This is shameful and cruel. The USA funds other countries so their citizens can be treated better than this.

    November 19, 2013 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  22. Tom

    I love it. All the people stupid enough to vote Obama are getting exactly what they deserve. It only goes down from here, when the employer mandate goes into effect, instead of 5-10 million losing coverage, it will be over 70 million people, many of which will also be moved to part time or fired all together. Enjoy the bed you made morons.

    November 19, 2013 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  23. Kelly

    I live in Washington state and the exact same thing happened to me. So now my question is this. Will I be fined for not buying the health insurance I cannot afford?

    November 19, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. Joe

    Why do so many people think that affordable care means affordable insurance? The ACA does little to decrease the cost of care. It mainly tries to spread the same high costs to a larger pool of [premium] payers. There certainly was a need for insurance reform, but everyone needs to stop pretending that will solve the problem. And if they wanted to broaden the pool of premium payers a simple law to require everyone to get insurance would have done the job without the huge big government overhead of ACA.

    So when are we going to address the rising cost of healthcare instead of just coming up with fanciful schemes to pay those high costs?

    November 19, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  25. haloguy628

    Obamacare does not care.

    November 19, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
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