House Democratic leaders won’t apologize for Obamacare promise
By: Seung Min Kim
November 14, 2013 06:45 PM EST
President Barack Obama issued a rare presidential apology when he expressed remorse for promising to Americans that they could keep their insurance plans if they liked their current coverage.
Don’t expect the same “I’m sorry” from House Democratic leaders.
In a news conference Thursday after a meeting with White House officials, the top four Democrats said they won’t apologize for that promise, instead defending the language of the Affordable Care Act — their prized legislative achievement.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who shepherded Obamacare through the House as speaker, said Obama was “very gracious” in making that apology but that the president’s words – in the context of the law – were “absolutely” precise.
“There’s nothing in the Affordable Care Act that says that your insurance company should cancel you,” she told reporters. “That’s not what the Affordable Care Act is about. It simply didn’t happen.”
She continued that she did not make a similar statement to her constituents, noting that she “would have if I ever met anybody that liked his or her plan, but that was not my experience.”
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said at the time the statement was made, it was accurate. The problems with the messaging came when people interpreted Obama’s comments “expansively.”
“You understand that if you had a policy on the day that this bill was adopted, you got to keep it,” Hoyer said. “Now, you didn’t get to keep it if the insurance companies didn’t want to offer it to you.”
“When [consumers] become aware of what they did not have, I don’t think there’s anything to apologize for,” added South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat.
House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) said he’s getting lots of “thank you” from his Los Angeles-area constituents – rather than demands for an apology.
Their comments came in response to a reporter’s question on whether they would make a similar apology to constituents on Obamacare’s promise.