Nation & World News

Obama Apologizes To Those Who Lost Health Plans

By Bill Chappell on November 8th, 2013

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” President Obama said Thursday, speaking about Americans who will lose their current health insurance plans.

In speeches before parts of the Affordable Care Act took effect, the president promised that people who were content with the plans they already had would be able to keep them. But that hasn’t always been the case, as The Two-Way reported in October.

Obama spoke about the troubled rollout of the new health care system with NBC’s Chuck Todd Thursday. Todd asked the president about the pledge he often repeated when critics of the Affordable Care Act said it would mean thousands of cancelled policies.

“I meant what I said,” Obama answered. “And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job. And I regret that.”

In addition to his apology, the president pledged to help those who have complained that the new law is forcing them to sign up for a more expensive plan.

“We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them,” Obama said, “and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

The appearance on NBC marks “a more apologetic tone” for the president on this issue, NPR’s Ari Shapiro reports.

“Until now, the White House had taken a defensive response to people being forced to change health plans. The president insisted that people losing their plans would get better and, in some cases, cheaper ones,” Ari says in a report for our Newscast unit.

“The White House is also still struggling to get the HealthCare.gov website up and running,” Ari adds. “It’s functioning better than before, but it’s still not up to speed.”

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