Bill Clinton to President: Keep Your Promise on Obamacare

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 02:14 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Former President Bill Clinton added to the pressure on President Barack Obama Tuesday to make good on his pledge that people would be able to keep their current healthcare plans if they wanted to, after many received cancellation notices from their insurance carriers.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment that the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got," Clinton said in an interview with OZY Media founder Carlos Watson.

New Medicare Warning: Obamacare Rule Changes Coming

Story continues below video.



The comments come just days after President Barack Obama issued an apology to those whose policies got canceled.

Clinton, who has strongly supported Obamacare, gave an example of a young man whose case showed both sides of the healthcare debate. "He has a family, two children, he bought in the individual marketplace. His policy was canceled and one was substituted for it — it doubled his premium.

"Now, I asked him, 'Same coverage?' He said, 'Yeah.' And I said 'Are your co-pays and deductibles the same?' And he said, 'No, much, much lower.' So he said, 'In the years that I use healthcare, I might actually save money, but, you know, we're all young and we're all healthy.' "

Later Tuesday, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama agrees with Clinton and that the administration is making an effort to keep the pledge.

"The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their plans have been canceled and they can't afford a better plan," Carney said at the daily White House press briefing. "The president addressed this very issue in his interview last week."

Obama had made the pledge that people who liked their healthcare coverage could keep it, but has now backed away from that promise, saying it was only for people whose coverage contained minimum standards set up under the Affordable Care Act.

He apologized during an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd last week. 

"Even though it's a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them," Obama said. "And it's scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me."

The president has since signaled that he is pursuing "administrative" solutions to halt the cancellation of policies.

House Republicans, meanwhile, plan to vote this week on legislation they crafted that would ensure any policy effective in 2013 would be grandfathered in for a year, allowing people to keep their policies should they choose to do so.

Speaker John Boehner on Tuesday issued a statement applauding Clinton's call for new Obamacare legislation. Boehner said Clinton's comments "signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could keep their coverage under President Obama's healthcare law."

Boehner reiterated his assertion that the law needs to be repealed, but said: "While the two parties may disagree on that point, it shouldn't stop reasonable Democrats from working with us to shield Americans from its most egregious consequences — like the millions of current health plans being canceled.

New Medicare Warning: Obamacare Rule Changes Coming

"That’s why all Democrats concerned about the president's broken promise should join Republicans in voting to pass the Keep Your Health Plan Act when it comes before the House later this week. President Clinton understood that governing in a divided Washington requires a focus on common ground, and I hope President Obama will follow the former president’s lead."

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