- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 5, 2013

With President Obama’s approval ratings plummeting, White House aides labored Tuesday to explain his broken promises about Obamacare in the face of videos showing the president repeatedly stating untruths about the law.

Rather than admit Mr. Obama was wrong when he told consumers regularly and emphatically that everyone could keep their health insurance, White House officials gave their third variation in a week about what the president really meant to say. This time, they said the president was giving the public “a statement about the overall promise” of the law.

“Communications are challenging here,” said a flustered White House press secretary Jay Carney.

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As insurers continued to send cancellation notices in response to Obamacare, the president’s chief of staff summoned top insurance executives to the White House and urged them to improve their “education efforts” aimed at the millions of people who are losing coverage. The move reflected in part the administration’s stance that insurance companies aren’t cooperating enough to smooth the transition to Obamacare.

On Capitol Hill, even one of the Senate’s most liberal Democrats expressed concern that Obamacare and its error-prone website are crumbling under a lack of public confidence.

President Barack Obama laughs while walking with Senior Advisor David Axelrod following an event at the Costa Mesa Town Hall at OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa, Calif., March 18, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama laughs while walking with Senior Advisor David Axelrod following ... more >

“I believe there has been a crisis of confidence created in the dysfunctional nature of the website, cancellation of policies and sticker shock for some people,” Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat and an ardent supporter of the law, said at a hearing where lawmakers grilled Mr. Obama’s point person for the program.

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Some Democratic lawmakers have introduced legislation to make Mr. Obama’s broken promise a reality by allowing Americans to keep their health insurance plans. The White House on Tuesday wouldn’t commit to the proposal.

The president kept a low profile, holding meetings at the White House and visiting wounded soldiers privately at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. He is traveling Wednesday to Dallas to thank volunteers at an Obamacare call center and to promote enrollment in the program.

Evidence shows that the public is beginning to hold Mr. Obama accountable for the law’s early failures and his broken promises. The Gallup tracking poll showed that Mr. Obama’s job approval rating fell to 39 percent for the three-day period ending Monday. It was his lowest showing in the poll since a rock-bottom rating of 38 percent in October 2011, and an 11-point drop since December.

The president’s approval rating among Hispanics fell to 49 percent, a 9-point drop in one week.

With millions of Americans losing their health insurance, critics hammered Mr. Obama and his advisers for the second straight week about his unequivocal pledge over the past four years that Obamacare wouldn’t force people to change their coverage or their doctors.

On Monday night, Mr. Obama tried to revise history by saying he was telling people all along that they could keep their plans “if” the insurance companies hadn’t made any changes.

That version crumbled quickly in the face of web videos showing a montage of Mr. Obama’s no-strings promises that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” In one 90-second video, Mr. Obama recites this ironclad promise 23 times. In another, he makes the pledge 29 times.

Even as late as Sept. 26 — days before the launch of the website, years after the law was passed and after the enabling regulations written — Mr. Obama told an audience in Maryland, “The first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.” He even emphasized that this was true regardless of whether Americans had insurance “through their job, or through Medicare or through the individual market.”

Pressed repeatedly by reporters, Mr. Carney refused to say whether Mr. Obama regrets making the emphatic and repeated promise that people could keep their health care plans under the law.

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