Seeking to calm a growing furor, President Barack Obama said Thursday he's sorry Americans are losing health insurance plans he repeatedly said they could keep under his signature health care law. But the president stopped short of apologizing for making those promises in the first place.But is he really sorry? Let's look at the transcript:
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he said in an interview with NBC News.
CHUCK TODD:It begs a question or two, doesn't it? How do you define was "subpar" means? Up 'til now, you, as an individual consumer, got to define it. Not any more. And that's the point, right? It's entirely consistent with the idea that you aren't competent to make your own decisions and weigh the costs and risks associated with buying a product or service. Surely you'll get it wrong and buy something "subpar," so you need Barack Obama to give you better choices that are entirely of his choosing. And consider the disconnect in this statement:
Thanks to you. I'll start with health care. It's probably the most quoted thing or requoted thing you have said in your presidency, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." You said it a lot during the run up. At this point, though, it's obviously something-- a promise that has not been able to be kept. Just today, the Denver Post -- 250,000 people in Colorado are seeing health insurance policies cancelled. Some of those people liked those policies. And they can't keep them. What happened?
Well-- first of all, I meant what I said. And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn't do enough-- a good enough job-- and I regret that. We're talking about 5% of the population-- who are in what's called the individual market. They're out there buying health insurance on their own.
A lot of these plans are subpar plans. And we put in a clause in the law that said if you had one of those plans, even if it was subpar-- when the law was passed, you could keep it. But there's enough churn in the market that folks since then have bought subpar plans. And now that may be all they can afford. So even though it only affects a small amount of the population, you know, it means a lot to them, obviously, when they get-- this letter cancelled.
PRESIDENT OBAMA:Well, when your existing policy is cancelled, you're being forced into choosing something else. The evidence is coming in that most people aren't going to be in a better position, either. The premiums are substantially higher and the potential out-of-pocket costs are considerably higher as well, because the "better" policies require maternity coverage for menopausal women and similar issues. And the real pain is coming next year, when the employer mandate kicks in, because then people who get their insurance through their employers will get to pay for all the same things that the lucky folks in the individual marketplace will now face. Enjoy it, people. Enjoy it.
You know-- I regret very much that-- what we intended to do, which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want 'em, as opposed to because they're forced into it. That, you know, we weren't as clear as we needed to be-- in terms of the changes that were taking place. 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.