President Obama’s apology to the formerly insured was a little off-keyNovember 8, 2013
President Obama certainly draws his share of criticism in Washington and, while I’m mostly a fan, I’ve been known to chime in now and then. One thing I’ve never previously criticized, however, is one of his apologies. Ordinarily, President Obama is a master of the effective apology, clear, direct and unequivocal. It’s a pleasure to watch him work.
That’s why I was a little disappointed with the apology he delivered yesterday to Americans who are losing their health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (sorry – I refuse to call it “Obamacare”) despite his repeated promises that they wouldn’t. In response to questions about their collective plight during an NBC inteview, the President said, “I’m sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me.” He then went on to promise that his administration would do what it could to help those folks.
The apology felt a little awkward, and I think it was because President Obama was apologizing for the wrong thing. He’s not responsible for insurance carriers cancelling consumers’ coverage. Further, if he doesn’t already know that his power to force private insurance companies to reinstate coverage is very, very limited, he’ll find that out soon enough.
What the President is responsible for is making promises to the public without knowing if they were true. His assurances that consumers could keep their health insurance were intended to build support for the Act among voters and the members of Congress, but he should have gotten his facts straight before opening his mouth. As it was, voters may have expressed support and legislators may have voted for the Act without understanding what it would do. That’s nothing new in Washington, but it’s a little disappointing. Next time, Mr. President, please check your facts before you advocate.
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