Former President Bill Clinton waded into the ongoing controversy over President Barack Obama’s troubled promise that those who like their health insurance can keep it, encouraging the president to uphold that commitment.
“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, who Obama once dubbed “Secretary of Explaining Stuff,” said in an interview with OZY Media founder Carlos Watson published Tuesday.
In recent weeks Obama has been frantically trying to extricate himself from that pledge, which has not held up for millions of Americans on low-quality plans who are receiving cancellation notices.
“Now, if you had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed,” Obama told supporters last Monday. But his message had evolved by the end of the week, as mounting pressure from some in his own party led him to apologize to those who feel misled.
“Even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them,” Obama said Thursday in an interview with NBC News. “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.” He also hinted that he would support efforts, possibly through legislation, to address the problem.
Asked later Tuesday if Obama agrees with Clinton, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney pointed to Obama’s NBC interview last week.
“Well, I think as you saw the president say in an interview with NBC last week, the answer is yes, the president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options, as he said, to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their plans have been canceled and they can’t afford a better plan even though they’d like to have a better plan,” Carney told reporters at the White House.
Clinton’s criticism comes as his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is weighing a run for the presidency in 2016.