President Barack Obama agrees with former President Bill Clinton that people getting tossed off their current health care plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act should be able to keep their coverage, according to a spokesman.
But the White House is not offering any solutions for how to keep the promise of continued coverage that Obama made while lobbying for and campaigning on his signature domestic policy.
Clinton told an online magazine, Ozy, Obama should do whatever he can to keep the promise he made that if people liked their current coverage they could keep it after the Obamacare rollout.
"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," Clinton said in the interview published Tuesday.
At issue is millions of Americans who have been informed their insurance companies are dropping their current coverage. Though the plans don't meet the minimum standards of the new health care law, they were legally allowed to be grandfathered in thanks to a provision in the ACA. But insurance companies instead are opting to overhaul their offerings and drop the plans, most of which are for catastrophic care and provide minimal coverage. And because it's private insurers who are opting to cancel the plans of their own volition, it's unclear how the White House can stop the cancellations.
"The answer is yes," said Jay Carney, a White House spokesman Tuesday when asked if Obama agreed with Clinton's comments.
"The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options, as he said, to make sure nobody is put in a position where their plans are canceled," Carney added. "He's very interested in trying to address this problem."
Meanwhile, Republicans have been quick to pile on Clinton's comments as another example of the health law's failings. Already, they've made political hay out of the fumbled rollout of a website designed to work as an online marketplace for Americans looking for new insurance. Enrollment is also a fraction of what the administration hoped for, according to news reports, thanks at least in part to the website's bugs.
House Speaker John Boehner said Clinton's words, "signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could keep their coverage under President Obama's health care law."
"The entire health care law is a train wreck that needs to go," Boehner said in a release. "And while the two parties may disagree on that point, it shouldn't stop reasonable Democrats from working with us to shield Americans from its most egregious consequences, like the millions of current health plans being canceled."
Republicans have sought – and failed – to repeal or rollback the health law, which was passed in 2010 without a single GOP vote. Democrats say that millions of Americans will eventually see a reduction in health costs as a result of the new law, which is set for implementation in 2014.