BILL CLINTON TO OBAMA: ‘Honor Your Commitment’ On Obamacare

Published on November 13, 2013

Former President Bill Clinton said in an interview published Tuesday that President Barack Obama should make sure Americans can keep their existing health plans, even if that means tweaking the Affordable Care Act.

“I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Clinton told the site OZY in the interview.

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has introduced a bill that the House will vote on later this week. It would “grandfather” in all health insurance plans that existed as of Jan. 1, 2013, not March 23, 2010, meaning that insurers could continue to offer a number of plans that they have been forced to cancel under the Affordable Care Act.

Clinton preceded his comments by telling the story of a man he met last week, who he said doesn’t qualify for subsidies because he makes more than 400% above the federal poverty level. He has a wife and two children, and Clinton said his policy was canceled and replaced by one that doubled his premium.

“They are the ones who heard the promise, ‘If you like what you’ve got, you can keep it,'” Clinton said.

Clinton started his own presidency by trying to overhaul the American health care system, but his proposal was undone by complaints that it would change too many Americans’ health insurance situations and perhaps force some people to change doctors. The Clinton experience may have driven Obama’s choice to repeatedly reassure Americans that, “If you like your health plan, you can keep it,” even though it was clear to policy wonks on both sides of the debate that his promise would prove false for many.