Obama apologizes to Americans losing health plans

President Obama on Thursday said he was sorry that Americans are receiving cancellation notices from their insurance companies after he promised that people could keep their insurance plans if they liked them.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation … based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said in an interview with NBC News. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them 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.”

Obama made his remarks – a 19-second excerpt was released before the full interview is aired at 6:30 p.m. – as his administration faces intense criticism over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.

Not only have Americans struggled to sign up for insurance on the administration’s badly hobbled Web site, but people are also receiving cancellation notices form insurance companies who are citing the law as reason for the cancellation.

Obama and his aides have been arguing that the law is not forcing those cancellations, defending a promise that was central to Obama’s message when he lobbied for passage of the health care law in 2009 and 2010.

But the position has been under attack from opponents and allies, who say that the cancellations clearly are the result of the health care law.

Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.
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Sean Sullivan · November 7, 2013