CBS: Obama's 'Patch' of Insurance Cancellations 'Fell Flat'; 'Created Another Mess'

Major Garrett pointed out on Friday's CBS This Morning that the politician's Thursday "attempt to fix the problem of canceled insurance policies...fell flat", as it failed to satisfy his Democratic allies in Congress, who are nervous about the next election. Garrett devoted much of his report on the morning newscast, as well on Thursday's CBS Evening News, to his hard-hitting questioning of the politician, where he hounded the politician over the ObamaCare debacle.

The journalist also underscored that "many state insurance commissioners...[are] unlikely to enforce the President's new policy". He also spotlighted an insurance industry expert's stinging assessment of this supposed fix: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

ROBERT LASZEWSKI, HEALTH POLICY AND STRATEGY ASSOCIATES PRESIDENT: I have no idea who is advising this President in how the insurance market works. But they've just created another mess here, on top of all the other messes they've created.

Garrett wasted little time before playing a clip of the President's "now-infamous" promise to the American people – that "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it". He continued that Obama's Thursday proposal to "give consumers with canceled individual insurance policies a chance to get them back....will not be easy."

The CBS correspondent then played his soundbite of Laszewski, and added that "some Democrats said the so-called ObamaCare patch fell short, since it's only a one-year fix". He spent the rest of the segment with two extended excerpts from the White House press conference, where Garrett confronted the Democrat over his administration's beyond botched handling of the health care issue:

MAJOR GARRETT (voice-over): CBS News asked the President why he promised people could keep their plans in the first place.

GARRETT (on-camera, from White House press conference): Do you not believe, sir, the American people deserve a deeper, more transparent accountability from you, as to why you said that over and over?

OBAMA: There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate. That's something I deeply regret, because it's scary getting a cancellation notice.

GARRETT (voice-over): We also asked the President if he knew, two weeks before launch, the federal health care website was a mess.

GARRETT (on-camera): You were informed – or several people in this building were informed – two weeks before the launch of the website, that it was failing the most basic tests internally. And yet, a decision was made to launch the website on October 1. Did you, sir, make that test (sic), and if so, did you regret that?

OBAMA: Okay. On the website, I was not informed directly – that the website would not be working the way it was supposed to.

I'm accused of a lot of things, but I don't think I'm stupid enough to go around saying, this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the website opens, if I thought that it wasn't going to work.

During his CBS Evening News report on Thursday, the journalist included a third question from the presser, where he wondered about another less-than-honest answer from the President:


GARRETT (voice-over): The President then referred to ObamaCare's so-called grandfather clause, which allowed consumers to keep their policies unless insurance companies made a significant change.

OBAMA(from White House press conference): My working assumption was that the majority of those folks would find better policies at lower costs, or the same costs in the marketplaces. And that the universe of folks who potentially would not find a better deal in the marketplaces, the grandfather clause would work sufficiently for them. And it didn't. That's something I deeply regret, because it's scary getting a cancellation notice.

GARRETT (on-camera): Did you decide, sir, that simple declaration was something the American people could handle, but this nuanced answer you just gave now was something that you couldn't handle, and you didn't trust the American people with the fuller truth?

OBAMA: No. My expectation was that for 98 percent of the American people – either it genuinely wouldn't change at all; or they'd be pleasantly surprised with the options in the marketplace, and that the grandfather clause would cover the rest. That proved not to be the case, and that's on me.

[Update: the full transcripts of Major Garrett's reports on Thursday's CBS Evening News and Friday's CBS This Morning can be read on MRC.org.]

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center