This takes the cake. The Post reports:
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 aired at 6:30 p.m. — as his administration faces intense criticism over the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
After denying for days that his law caused health-care policy cancellations and trying to rework an unqualified pledge he made dozens of times, he is now sorry. When was it they decided to tell the truth — was there an internal poll showing him drifting into the mid-30s in approval?
The reaction was swift and disparaging. Ron Fournier wrote: “I’m sorry you campaigned for reelection on the famous false promise: ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan. Period.’ I’m sorry your aides debated whether to tell the full truth (that people could keep their insurance only if it hadn’t changed and if it met your standards) and decided instead to institutionalize the lie.”
The real question, now that Obama has admitted misleading the country, is what he intends to do about it. Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.) released a statement Thursday evening, which read in part: “If the President is truly sorry for breaking his promises to the American people, he’ll do more than just issue a half-hearted apology on TV. A great place to start would be to support the Sen. Johnson bill that would allow Americans to do what the President promised in the first place: keep the plan they have and like.” The speaker of the House likewise put out a statement, blasting the president: “An apology is certainly in order, but what Americans want to hear is that the president is going to keep his promise. That’s why the House will vote next week to allow anyone with a health care plan they like to keep it. If the president is sincerely sorry that he misled the American people, the very least he can do is support this bipartisan effort. Otherwise, this apology doesn’t amount to anything.”
The pressure remains on Senate Dems, some of whom also promised people they could keep their health-care plans and their doctors. Do they, at this point, join the GOP in calling for a reboot of the entire bill? If not, Republicans will begin the 2014 drumbeat, challenging Democrats to admit their own role in this debacle.
But even more interesting is the president’s insistence that the canceled plans are somehow “sub-par.” The audacity in instructing Americans who (if they are young and healthy) made the wise choice to simply buy a catastrophic plan is remarkable. And of course there are plenty of examples now of those with low-deductible plans who are finding only more expensive plans that cover less. Perhaps he will issue an apology down the road for this knee-slapper.
The president is running on empty when it comes to credibility. I suspect this won’t help any.