Obama citing Jessica Sanford’s letter –White House Rose Garden (October 21, 2013):
“I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford in Washington State. And here’s what she wrote: “I am a single mom, no child support, self-employed, and I haven’t had insurance for 15 years because it’s too expensive. My son has ADHD and requires regular doctor visits and his meds alone cost $250 per month. I have had an ongoing tendinitis problem due to my line of work that I haven’t had treated. Now, finally, we get to have coverage because of the ACA for $169 per month. I was crying the other day when I signed up. So much stress lifted.”
Now, that is not untypical for a lot of folks like Jessica who have been struggling without health insurance. That’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about. The point is, the essence of the law — the health insurance that’s available to people — is working just fine. In some cases, actually, it’s exceeding expectations — the prices are lower than we expected, the choice is greater than we expected.”
Transcript courtesy of CNN:
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a huge disappointment and especially since I had my story had been shared by the president.
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: New this hour, a CNN exclusive, a woman used by the president as an Obamacare success story turns on the program. We’ll tell you why. And we have new details about warnings months before the launch.
BOLDUAN: Big story this hour, the White House facing two more embarrassing revelations in the never-ending Obamacare fiasco. First, newly released documents revealing a private consulting firm warned the administration that healthcare.gov, the website, could be a disaster in the making. Way back in the spring they got these warnings.
And second problem, a CNN exclusive. A Washington state mom hailed as an Obamacare success story by the president in a speech just last month. Now she says she can’t afford the insurance and blames the state health care exchanges.
Let’s bring in senior White House correspondent Jim Acosta who has all of these late details this morning. Good morning, Jim.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kate. That’s right, Jessica Sanford was cited by the president as an Obamacare success story at a health care event he had here at the White House in the Rose Garden on October 21, that of course being just last month. The 48-year-old single mom from Washington state purchased what she considered to be affordable health care, a life-changing event she said, on the Washington state health exchange. And she decided she was so excited about this news she wanted to write an e-mail to the president to say this had really changed her life and she was thankful for the Affordable Care Act. The president included her e-mail in his remarks to people on hand for the event. Here’s a bit of what the president had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I recently received a letter from a woman named Jessica Sanford in Washington state. Here’s what she wrote, “I am a single mom, no child support, self- employed, and I haven’t had insurance for 15 years because it’s too expensive. I was crying the other day when I signed up, so much stress lifted.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: But days, just really three days after she was mentioned by the president, Jessica Sanford started having problems. She was receiving letters from the Washington state health exchange, the first letter telling her tax credit was reduced, therefore increasing the cost of her health care plan. And then take a look at this. Then she received a letter just last week telling her that her tax credit had been taken away all together. Show you another document here showing what the tax credit worked out to be according to the Washington state health exchange. Zero dollars according to this document that was provided to us by Jessica Sanford. She describes all of this as a rollercoaster ride because now she says she can’t afford insurance in Washington state because of these new developments. Here’s what she told us in an exclusive TV interview.
JESSICA SANFORD, SEATTLE WASHINGTON: It was like riding a big rollercoaster. They have my credit card. They have the payment date. And then, you know, once again, I’m knocked down, and this time it’s to zero. And at my rate of pay with my family size, I just don’t understand why I wouldn’t get at least a little help with a tax credit.
It was a huge disappointment, and especially since I had, you know — my story had been shared by the president, I felt like, you know, I just felt embarrassed that, you know, he quoted my story and then come to find that the Washington health plan finder, the website here in our state, had grossly miscalculated or they’re having a problem figuring their tax credits. And so at least for right now, I don’t — I’m not going to be getting insurance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: Now, Jessica Sanford is not alone. According to this letter she got from the Washington state health exchange, also known as Washington Health Plan Finder, it says that other Washington state residents, applicants to the state health exchange are also receiving these letters informing them that their tax credits had been miscalculated.
When we went back to the Washington state health exchange, officials said they were looking into it and would get back to us. But guys, Jessica Sanford tells us what is so frustrating about all this is she’s a President Obama supporter. She voted for the president, she supports the Affordable Care Act. But she says after being held up as an example of what was working right with the health care plan, according to the president, she now sort of feels like an example of what’s not working at least in her home state of Washington state.
And one other thing we should point out, you mentioned the documents that were released by a house Republican committee chairman last night, those documents indicate that as of last march, senior White House — or senior administration officials, including Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, was aware of some of the problems with the website earlier this year, back in march. Those concerns, according to Republican members of this one committee, the energy and commerce committee, they feel like they were not told the full story by Kathleen Sebelius based on the documents provided by a consultant, a firm that was advising the administration on the health care plan. Guys, back to you.
CUOMO: All right, Jim, appreciate the reporting.
I have zero sympathy for anyone who voted for Obama. They were warned.
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