The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

November 8, 2013

Obama 'sorry' Americans losing insurance coverage

WASHINGTON — Seeking to calm a growing furor, President Barack Obama said Thursday he’s sorry Americans are losing health insurance plans he repeatedly said they could keep under his signature health care law. But the president stopped short of apologizing for making those promises in the first place.

“I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” he said in an interview with NBC News.

Signaling possible tweaks to the law, Obama said his administration was working to close “some of the holes and gaps” that were causing millions of Americans to get cancellation letters. Officials said he was referring to fixes the administration can make on its own, not legislative options some congressional lawmakers have proposed.

“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,” Obama said.

The president’s apology comes as the White House tries to combat a cascade of troubles surrounding the rollout of the health care law often referred to as “Obamacare.” The healthcare.gov website that was supposed to be an easy portal for Americans to purchase insurance has been riddled by technical issues. And with at least 3.5 million Americans receiving cancellation notices from their insurance companies, there’s new scrutiny aimed at the way the president tried to sell the law to the public in the first place.

In Thursday’s interview, Obama took broader responsibility for the health care woes than in his previous comments about the rollout, declaring that if the law isn’t working “it’s my job to get it fixed.”

“When you’ve got a health care rollout that is as important to the country and to me as this is and it doesn’t work like a charm, that’s my fault,” he said.

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