News and Views
Barack Obama says sorry to Americans losing health insurance cover
In an unusual move, US President Barack Obama has apologised to millions of "scary" Americans whose health insurance plans have been cancelled as a result of his signature health law.
Obama's candid remarks came after some insurers sent cancellation notices to some of the 12 million Americans whose individual health policies did not meet Obamacare requirements for more comprehensive care.
"We didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. That's something that I regret. That's something that we're going to do everything we can to get fixed," Obama said in an interview with NBC News.
"Even though it's a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them," he said.
"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," Obama said.
Obama's remarks came after weeks of serious problems with healthcare.gov, a website established under the law that is akin to a shopping site for private health insurance plans.
"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.Obviously, we didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law," he said.
Meanwhile, a White House official told the Washington Post that the president's policy team has been investigating the possibility of an administrative solution since the problem surfaced as a significant issue late last month.
The problem has arisen for those who buy insurance on the individual marketplace, a number that totals between 12 million and 15 million people. About half of those are probably being adversely affected by the Affordable Care Act, the aide acknowledged. Some Republicans, who remain fierce opponents of the law three years after it won congressional approval, appeared unmoved by Obama's apology.
"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," the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, said in a statement. Meanwhile, the Post also noted that Presidents rarely say "I'm sorry" in public, even when acknowledging missteps.
Obama's most recent unvarnished apology came in February of last year when he told Afghan President Hamid Karzai that he was sorry for the involvement of US service members in the burning of copies of the Quran, the paper noted.