WASHINGTON (USA TODAY) - Former President Bill Clinton said that President Obama should honor his oft-repeated pledge and allow people to hang on to health care plans that are being canceled as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, that the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got," Clinton said in an interview at OZY.com published on Tuesday.
The comments from Clinton, who has been a strong supporter of Obama's signature health care legislation, came after Obama said on Thursday that he is sorry that some Americans are losing their current health insurance plans as a result of the ACA, despite his assurances that Americans could keep their insurance plans if they like them.
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said. "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."
The White House has said that the president is exploring administrative action to help some of the millions on the individual insurance market who have received cancellation notices but hasn't announced any specific steps they may take.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Clinton's comments were in line with Obama's statement last week that he has asked his administration officials "to close some of the gaps in the law."
"The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of option," said Carney, who declined what options the president may be considering.
In the interview with OZY.COM, Clinton added, "For young people mostly, but not all young, who are in the individual market whose incomes are above 400 percent of the poverty level - they were the ones who heard the promise that if you like what you've got you can keep it."
Clinton, who made his own unsuccessful bid at a health care overhaul during his presidency, also made clear that he remains a strong supporter of Obama's law.
"The big lesson is we're better off with this program than we are without it," Clinton said.