The Corner

Obama: I’m Sorry for Obamacare (Sort Of)

Per NBC, Obama apologizes:

President Obama said Thursday that he is “sorry” that some Americans are losing their current health insurance plans as a result of the Affordable Care Act, despite his promise that no one would have to give up a health plan they liked.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he told NBC News in an exclusive interview at the White House.

“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.”

Apologizing is all well and good, and yet Obama still finds himself in a tough position. It is one thing to apologize for the disaster that has been the technical rollout, and quite another to apologize for your own dishonesty. As Chuck Todd observes:

Obama’s comments come 10 days after NBC News’ Lisa Myers reported that the administration has known since the summer of 2010 that millions of Americans could lose their insurance under the law.  Obama has made repeated assurances that “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan” with Obamacare.

This is to say that the president can say he’s sorry until kingdom come, but he still did what he did, and that doesn’t disappear simply because he’s acknowledged it. Moreover, it remains to be seen how this apology will play with the administration’s other messages: That they didn’t lie; that this is actually because of the insurance companies; that this is just Republican interference; that everybody knew all along that there would be some changes, etc. Were they lying about that, too? Or will normal service be resumed tomorrow?

Note the passive voice, too:

“they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me”

How about: “I have put many people in this situation and they are surprised because I gave them assurances to the contrary”?

This president doesn’t just come out and apologize. The Democratic lawmakers that met with him this week must have given him one hell of a dressing down. 


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