Bill Clinton urges Obama make good on Obamacare pledge; Durbin wants “constructive change”

SHARE Bill Clinton urges Obama make good on Obamacare pledge; Durbin wants “constructive change”
SHARE Bill Clinton urges Obama make good on Obamacare pledge; Durbin wants “constructive change”

WASHINGTON–With problems continuing to plague the Obamacare launch Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill. said Tuesday on CNN, “I think we need to look at the political reality. We need to be open to constructive changes to make this law work better, but there are those, frankly, who don’t want it to work at all.” Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton said President Barack Obama needs to make good on his oft-repeated promise that if you like your health insurance, nothing will change. “They were the ones who heard the promise, if you like what you’ve got you can keep it,” Clinton said, discussing people getting cancellation letters from their private insurance companies. Clinton said he heard from people whose premiums higher but copays and deductibles will be lower under Obamacare. Still, “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 told OXY.com Durbin, in an interview with CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield, addressed Bill Clinton’s comments. “If those on the other side are willing to sit down in a constructive fashion, move us toward our goal making health insurance available to more and more Americans and reducing costs, that’s a good positive thing to do. I would say to President Clinton, if we can bring that bipartisan group together, we can start to solve some of the problems we’re facing.” CNN RUSH TRANSCRIPT: BANFIELD: People in charge of Obamacare are promising to give us some real numbers of the actual enrollments in the online insurance marketplaces by the middle of the month. But if you check your calendar, today is the 12th. And the media estimates so far are not very encouraging. Just 50,000. 50,000 new policies by one count. It’s based on data from insurance companies. It is not data that’s confirmed by the government. CNN is estimating it another 60,000 signed up on the exchanges run by the 14 states and the District of Columbia. The administration’s target was 800,000 overall by November 30th. That said, we should point out that Medicaid signups appear to be going through the roof. A private market research firm estimates that more than 400,000, 400,000 low-income Americans signed up for government-run health care in 10 states. Again, official numbers are not yet available but should be soon. Clearly, it’s been a rough six weeks for Obamacare defenders in Washington and beyond. Just ask Dick Durbin, the second ranking Democrat in the U.S. Senate. He’s the majority whip and he’s my guest live this hour in the CNN Center in Atlanta. Thank you so much, Senator, for joining us. Let’s talk about this. President Clinton news for the president to say he personally believes even if it takes a change in the law, President Obama needs to honor the promise that you get to keep your health care. Is this going to cause problems, or are most Democrats going to start saying that? SEN. DICK DURBIN, (D), ILLINOIS: Ashleigh, I think we need to look at the political reality. We need to be open to constructive changes to make this law work better, but there are those, frankly, who don’t want it to work at all. If those on the other side are willing to sit down in a constructive fashion, move us toward our goal making health insurance available to more and more Americans and reducing costs, that’s a good positive thing to do. I would say to President Clinton, if we can bring that bipartisan group together, we can start to solve some of the problems we’re facing. BANFIELD: So there’s a GOP House vote later this week on a proposal that’s going to authorize insurance companies to for one year continue to offer the plans they’re currently canceling for people. A lot of Democrats in the Senate have the suggested that they’d like to offer a similar proposals. How do you stand on that? Would you like to see that happen, legislation to continue allowing people to keep their policies at least for a year? DURBIN: Let’s take a close look at some of those proposals. Some of those are not friendly proposals. They’re designed to derail this effort. Keep in mind what we’re putting in insurance policies, that they cannot be canceled if you or someone in your family has a pre- existing condition, no lifetime limits on the payouts for cancer victims and people facing enormous medical bills. These are things which should be part of insurance policy. If we start taking them away, then, frankly, it’s going to be difficult for the insurance industry to produce a product that really is going to serve our needs and that they can adequately tell us what it costs. BANFIELD: You know, Senator Durbin, we traffic a lot of comments that come in and out of our news channel daily. So many critics have said President Obama lied. I mean they’re using the “L” word liberally to say he lied, this whole idea that you can keep your health insurance if you like it. Did he lie, or was this a colossal mistake? How did that happen? DURBIN: A couple more sentences added would clarify it. The president apologized. He said very clearly he was sorry if he misled people. Here’s the bottom line. The bottom line is, in my state of Illinois, 1.8 million people have no health insurance. Across our nation, 40 million without health insurance. If we are going to move beyond this sorry state and give people the peace of mind. BANFIELD: I agree. I want to know how it happened though. If we’re going to move beyond it, we need to know what the mistake that just slipped by everybody? How did this happen, Senator? DURBIN: It should have been added in this private insurance market every two years, two out of three policies are canceled and changed. This happens frequently in this niche of the market, this part of the market. It should have been clarified from the start but there home run ways to resolve this. BANFIELD: Who gave the president those talking points? Who wrote those speeches? (CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: He went out over and over again and said it. DURBIN: I certainly wasn’t in on that decision. We’ve got to keep our eye on the goal. (CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: You also said it, sir. Senator, you also said it. (CROSSTALK) BANFIELD: Over and over again, you said it, if you like your policy, you can keep it. DURBIN: Well, I said it because I believed it. Now I know I should have added, for 98 percent of American people, that is exactly true. For the other 2 percent in the individual market, there is frequent changes in policies. People are used to increases in their premiums and changes in their policies. That is something that’s a reality. It should have been clarified. BANFIELD: Senator Durbin, it’s great of you to join us. I do appreciate you taking the time especially with your trip to Atlanta. Thank you.

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