According to Bloomberg,President Barack Obama said he’s sorry that thousands of Americans are losing their medical insurance as a result of his health-care law, as his administration works to contain the political damage from the troubled rollout of his signature domestic achievement.
Hundreds of thousands of individual health insurance plans are being canceled, contradicting Obama’s repeated pledge that people who like their coverage would be able to keep it when the law took effect.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama told NBC News in an interview at the White House yesterday. “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.”
Obama’s public approval ratings have been driven down by the flawed startup of the government website intended as the main gateway to federal health-care exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and stories about canceled policies.
His oft-repeated pledge that individuals would be able to keep their coverage and their doctors was a central selling point of his health-care overhaul, aimed at calming consumers concerned that they would be forced to give up policies and doctors they liked as the program expanded coverage to many of the nation’s 48 million uninsured.
Republicans pounced on the president’s remarks, attacking Obama for not supporting legislation they have pushed that would allow Americans to keep their current plans.
“If the president is truly sorry for breaking his promises to the American people, he’ll do more than just issue a half-hearted apology on TV,” Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said in a statement yesterday.
House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, echoed McConnell, saying in a statement that “an apology is certainly in order, but what Americans want to hear is that the president is going to keep his promise.”
The House plans next week to take up a measure that would allow individuals to keep their plans even if the coverage failed to meet the health-law’s standards.