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White House

I'm Sorry, Too, Mr. President

Obama apologizes for breaking promise on health care reform.

"I am sorry"(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

photo of Ron Fournier
November 7, 2013

I'm sorry, too, Mr. President.

I'm sorry you couldn't finesse a single Republican vote for health insurance reform in 2010.

I'm sorry Republicans decided to re-litigate the law rather than help implement it, offering no serious alternative of their own for the nearly 50 million uninsured Americans.

 

I'm sorry you campaigned for reelection on the famous false promise: "If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. Period."

I'm sorry your aides debated whether to tell the full truth (that people could keep their insurance only if it hadn't changed and if it met your standards) and decided instead to institutionalize the lie.

I'm sorry that when Americans recognized the deception you tried to reinvent history: "What we said was you can keep it if it hasn't changed since the law passed." No, no, no, no, no—that's not what you guys said.

I'm sorry you didn't trust Americans with the truth.

I'm sorry that the Democratic Party's decades-old chase toward universal health care is now at risk because your law—your legacy, sir—is off to such a miserable start. The online networks don't work and the people you need bought into the system, particularly young Americans, can't access the market and now may never trust it ... or you.

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," you told NBC News. "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."

Then, work hard, Mr. President, and tell your administration to do the same. Tell them, please, to stop blaming Republicans, insurance companies, and the media—to stop making excuses and shading the truth. You must lead by example (the NBC interview was full of excuses) and create a system of universal health care that is worthy of your promise.

"Ultimately," you told NBC, "the buck stops with me." You're right, sir. Please don't make us sorry about that.

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