Obama Apologizes To People Losing Health Coverage - New York News

Obama Apologizes To People Losing Health Coverage

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) Bowing to intense criticism, President Barack Obama apologized to Americans who are losing health insurance plans he repeatedly said they could keep and pledged to find fixes that might allow people to keep their coverage.

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he said in an interview Thursday with NBC News.

He added: "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them, and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."

Officials said the president was referring to fixes his administration could make on its own, not legislative options proposed by congressional lawmakers.

The president's apology comes as the White House tries to combat a cascade of troubles surrounding the rollout of the health care law, often referred to as "Obamacare."

The HealthCare.gov website that was supposed to be an easy portal for Americans to purchase insurance has been hobbled by technical issues. And with at least 3.5 million Americans receiving cancellation notices from their insurance companies, there's new scrutiny aimed at the way the president tried to sell the law to the public in the first place.

Obama stopped short in Thursday's interview of apologizing for telling Americans they would be able to keep their insurance plans if they liked them - a promise he has made repeatedly since the law was enacted. But he did take broader responsibility for the health care woes than in his previous comments about the flawed rollout, declaring that if the law isn't working, "it's my job to get it fixed."

"When you've got a health care rollout that is as important to the country and to me as this is and it doesn't work like a charm, that's my fault," he said.

Some Republicans, who remain fierce opponents of the law three years after it won congressional approval, appeared unmoved by Obama's mea culpa.

"If the president is truly sorry for breaking his promises to the American people, he'll do more than just issue a halfhearted apology on TV," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.

In recent days, focus has intensified on the president's promise that Americans who liked their insurance coverage would be able to keep it. He repeated the line often, both as the bill was being debated in Congress and after it was signed into law.

But the health care law itself made that promise almost impossible to keep. It mandated that insurance coverage must meet certain standards and that policies falling short of those standards would no longer be valid except through a grandfathering process, meaning some policies were always expected to disappear.

The White House says under those guidelines, fewer than 5 percent of Americans will have to change their coverage. But in a nation of more than 300 million people, 5 percent is about 15 million people.

Officials argue that those forced to change plans will end up with better coverage and that subsidies offered by the government will help offset any increased costs.

"We weren't as clear as we needed to be in terms of the changes that were taking place," Obama told NBC. "And I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position, a better position than they were before this law happened."

The president's critics have accused him of misleading the public about changes that were coming under the law, which remains unpopular with many Americans.

Obama dismissed those accusations, saying the White House was operating in "good faith." He acknowledged that the administration "didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law" but did not specify what changes his administration might make.

The White House has not formally taken a position on a variety of proposals from Congress to address issues that have arisen since the insurance sign-ups launched on Oct. 1.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has proposed requiring insurance companies to reinstate canceled plans, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is supporting a measure to delay for a year the penalties for going without insurance. Another Democrat, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, is asking Obama to extend the open enrollment period for insurance exchanges because of the widespread problems with the website.

On Wednesday, Obama met at the White House with Senate Democrats facing re-election next year to try to ease their concerns about the impact the rough health care rollout might have on their races. Many senators in the meeting asked for the enrollment period to be extended beyond the March 31 end point, but the White House said it doesn't think that will be necessary.

"Keep in mind that the open enrollment period, the period during which you can buy health insurance is available all the way until March 31," Obama said. "And we're only five weeks into it."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Record stores survive and thrive in Brooklyn

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:59 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:59:51 GMT
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
    When you hear about a place that still sells records, located in a hip neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn, you enter that store with certain expectations. One of them being: you hope the guy behind the counter talks about music the way Cory Fierman does."I think it's just like the most important thing to you," he says. "I don't know how to describe it. It's the most important thing to me. It's like another language."Cory manages Greenpoint's Academy Records Annex, where they want you ...
  • Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Queens Beer Week kicks off

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:19 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:19:20 GMT
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
    Queens wants to be known as New York City's beer capital. Queens Beer Week kicked off on Friday to celebrate the borough's crafty breweries and the more than 60 venues that serve their beer. Dan Bronson of Crescent and Vine in Astoria is the bearded brains behind the inaugural Queens Beer Week. He organized it all. The nine-day celebration of beers brewed in Queens.
  • Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Woman wanted for baby snatch attempt in custody

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:57 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:57:17 GMT
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
    Police have taken into custody the woman believed to have tried to push a stroller with a baby inside away from a nanny in Chelsea. Tara Anne McDonald, 46, was being evaluated at a hospital Friday night. The attempted kidnapping occurred on 8th Ave. and 17th St. at about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, police said.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Ukraine Insurgents Reject Call To Quit Buildings

    Ukraine Insurgents Reject Call To Quit Buildings

    Friday, April 18 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-04-18 15:01:38 GMT
    Dashing hopes of progress raised by a diplomatic deal in Geneva, pro-Russian insurgents who have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities said Friday they will not leave them.
    Dashing hopes of progress raised by a diplomatic deal in Geneva, pro-Russian insurgents who have occupied government buildings in more than 10 Ukrainian cities said Friday they will not leave them.
  • 3 Protesters Killed In Attack On Ukrainian Base

    3 Protesters Killed In Attack On Ukrainian Base

    Thursday, April 17 2014 11:00 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:00:14 GMT
    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in.
    The turmoil in Ukraine dominated the European landscape Thursday, as three protesters were killed in a clash in southern Ukraine, high-level talks were held in Geneva and Vladimir Putin weighed in.
  • NATO Ups Military Presence Amid Russian Threat

    NATO Ups Military Presence Amid Russian Threat

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-04-16 14:48:29 GMT
    NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.
    NATO is strengthening its military footprint along its eastern border immediately in response to Russia's aggression in Ukraine, the alliance's chief said Wednesday.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices