Bill Clinton Urges Obama to Yield on Health Law
NBC news | 2013-11-13 13:02

Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday joined the intensifying criticism of the botched health care rollout, urging President Obama to accept a change in the law that would allow all Americans to keep their current health insurance plan.
In an interview published on Ozy, a web magazine, Mr. Clinton said that Mr. Obama should make good on the promise that he and his administration repeatedly made to the American public.
“I personally believe even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Mr. Clinton said during the interview.
Mr. Clinton’s comment adds to the already intense pressure on the White House from both political parties. It carries special weight given the former president’s role in Mr. Obama’s re-election bid and Mr. Clinton’s own long history of involvement with health care policy.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, addressed the comments Tuesday afternoon by noting that Mr. Obama had said something similar in an interview last week.
“The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options, as he said, to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their plans have been canceled and they can’t afford a better plan, even though they’d like to have a better plan,” Mr. Carney said.
In Congress, members on both sides of the aisle are lining up behind legislation that would enforce Mr. Obama’s oft-stated promise that if consumers had insurance they liked, they could keep it after the Affordable Care Act — known as Obamacare — went into effect.
Mr. Obama apologized last week for making a blanket declaration that has turned out to be wrong. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country are getting cancellation notices from health insurance companies because their plans do not conform with minimum standards set by the new law.
In an interview with NBC News on Thursday, the president vowed to “do everything we can” to fix that problem.
The administration has resisted a legislative remedy, however, saying that the proposals in Congress would create more problems than they would fix. And politically, the White House has long been wary of opening the door to a new legislative fight over the health care law with Republicans who are eager to roll it back or repeal it.
But it is unclear what kind of administrative fix the White House could propose that might satisfy the president’s critics and the Americans who are losing their insurance. White House officials say they do not want to embrace a solution that allows insurance companies to sell what they consider to be cheap and substandard policies.
One option would be for the administration to somehow compensate people who have been kicked off their policies and now face higher premiums for better coverage. But it is not clear how the White House would propose to pay for such a plan, or whether it could do it without legislation.
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