Pressure on President Barack Obama for breaking his "keep your coverage" pledge reached fever pitch Thursday after roughly two dozen House Democrats signaled they may break ranks and support Republican legislation to re-institute millions of cancelled health policies. In an unusual move to stop the blood-letting, the president took personal blame for Obamacare's failures: "That's on me," he said.
According to Politico, his apology, which appeared to be aimed directly at Democrats facing re-election next year, went something like this: "We fumbled." "We might have done more." "I feel deeply responsible."
And perhaps most significant of all, the president said the criticism aimed at him was "deserved," Politico
Obama made the comments
during a White House press conference, where he announced an administrative fix that would allow about 5 million people to keep their cancelled plans if insurance companies comply with the request.
For some the president's mea culpa and his action on canceled policies was enough.
"For now, the president's actions are sufficient and I think his actions will resolve matters that most of our members are concerned about," Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings told Politico
"Most people feel like [the administration] kind of turned a corner as far as accepting some responsibility and offering [an alternative," Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen told Politico.
But the White House wasn't taking any chances that the president's effort to make amends would be enough to head off defections to a Republican bill sponsored by Michigan Rep. Fred Upton that would restore canceled policies but allow insurance companies to continue to offer plans that did not meet the all the minimal requirements set out in the healthcare reform law. The administration issued a formal veto threat on the bill, which was scheduled for a vote Friday.
"I will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the overall law and drag us back into a broken system," Obama also said at his news conference.
In a statement from the Office of Management and Budget, the administration argued the Upton legislation is intended to "sabotage" Obamacare, according to The Hill
"[The bill] rolls back the progress made by allowing insurers to continue to sell new plans that deploy practices such as not offering coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men, and continuing yearly caps on the amount of care that enrollees receive," the statement said.
But even with the threat of a veto, it remains to be seen as to whether the administration's solution will be enough to placate Democrats who fear retribution for the Obamacare problems at the ballot box in 2014.
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, however, said she was confident that the president's proposal was enough to prevent Democrats from breaking ranks.
"I'm confident the Democrats are going to stand, as we have, in unity to continue to support fully implementing the Affordable Care Act," she said, according to The Hill.
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