President Obama apologized Thursday for repeatedly telling Americans that, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan” under the Affordable Care Act, after reports millions are now losing their current health insurance plans.
“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” the president told NBC’s Chuck Todd. “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this,” Obama said in an interview from the White House.
According to the Associated Press, an estimated 3.5 million people have now had their plans canceled under the law.
On Monday, the president’s health insurance promise seemed to take on a new caveat, telling an OFA summit, “what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”
Obama’s apology comes amid continued “glitches” and downtime plaguing the website where millions are expected to sign up for health insurance plans, HealthCare.gov.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, introduced legislation Thursday to delay the individual mandate penalty under Obamacare for a year after the disastrous rollout.
“We can start with a one-year delay of the individual mandate to eliminate penalty fees if individuals choose to not enroll for a health care plan in 2014,” Manchin said. “This commonsense proposal simply allows Americans to take more time to browse and explore their options, making 2014 a true transition year.”
President Obama also addressed reports in the interview that his campaign considered dropping Vice President Joe Biden off the Democratic ticket in 2012 in favor of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Biden is “one of the best vice presidents in our history” and keeping him as a running mate was “one of the best decisions that I’ve ever made,” Obama said. “If they had asked me, I would have said there is no way that I am not running again with Joe Biden.”