Former President Bill Clinton wants to put the past behind him when it comes to pressuring President Obama over his signature healthcare law.
Clinton said last month that Obama should allow people to keep their insurance plans that are canceled under the Affordable Care Act, even if it means changing the law. Obama announced two days later that people with canceled plans could keep them for a year, amid pressure from his own party that was partly fueled by Clinton.
“No,” Clinton replied when asked by Fusion’s Jorge Ramos whether he takes credit for Obama’s decision. "I waited for him to say that he felt badly about it.
“I think it's important to point out he actually is trying to go beyond what he promised now,” Clinton added. “And in many places he will be able to do that.”
The controversy over canceled plans became another headache for the Obama White House during the rocky rollout of the president’s healthcare law. When selling his plan, Obama repeatedly said that if Americans liked their healthcare plans, they could keep them.
But that promise backfired when insurance companies sent hundreds of thousands of people cancellation notices because their plans did not meet the minimum standards required under the new law.
Clinton placed the blame for the canceled plans on the insurance companies, and not the Affordable Care Act.
“The truth is the law that he signed did grandfather in the policies that were in existence when he signed the law,” he told Ramos. “ And the insurance industry gets rid of these individual policies all the time. So I think he's trying to go beyond what he pledged to do.”
The flawed Obamacare rollout has proved costly to the president. His approval rating has fallen and more and more Americans say they do not trust him.
But Clinton predicted the long-term political effects will be minimal. He said that the problems with the federal insurance exchange website will be fixed “in the next few weeks.” And he said the law’s proposed benefits, like expanding health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured Americans, will improve Americans’ perception of it.
“If it's worked through, I think within four or five months people will be talking about something entirely differently,” Clinton said. “And they will be – and no one will want to repeal this law. They want it to work. ”
Jordan Fabian is Fusion's politics editor, writing about campaigns, Congress, immigration, and more. When he's not working, you can find him at the ice rink or at home with his wife, Melissa.