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Could Hagan feel effects of President's apology?

There could be political fallout for some after the President apologized for problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act.
November 8, 2013 3:17:14 PM PST
There could be political fallout for some candidates after President Obama apologized Thursday for problems plaguing the Affordable Care Act.

The biggest news came when the President backtracked on his often-repeated claim that people could keep the healthcare plans they already had.

"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," said Mr. Obama.

Now, state Republicans are calling for another apology. This time from Sen. Kay Hagan.

By some estimates, 15 million Americans could lose their current insurance plans, including 160,000 North Carolinians.

State Republicans say Hagan misled the public when she tried to sell the healthcare overhaul to North Carolinians in a 2009 speech on the Senate floor.

"People who like their insurance and their doctors keep them," said Hagan then.

The North Carolina GOP says Hagan should be held accountable for promises she made about the Affordable Care Act.

"When you come out in very absolute terms, 'You can keep your doctor,' period. 'You can keep you plan,' period," said N.C. GOP Chairman Claude Pope. "That's a pretty absolute statement, and for them to make those statements knowing that they were false before they made them, I think is a travesty, and it's an outright deception."

In a statement, Hagan said: "North Carolinians deserve health care that works. An apology is only helpful if it is followed by direct and meaningful action to get the Affordable Care Act working, which is why I've pushed to extend the open enrollment deadline and am supporting a bill that would allow people to keep their current plans. The administration should join these efforts to fix the problems.

"At a meeting with the President, I expressed the deep frustration that I and many North Carolinians have with being unable to access the online exchanges and shop for a new plan, and I told him that the level of transparency and accountability in the concrete steps they are taking to fix this problem must improve. I've always said that this law would require fixes and everyone needs to be on board with making this law work so that we can get people affordable health insurance that doesn't discriminate based on pre-existing conditions or kick you to the curb when you get sick. The Administration needs to step up and fix these problems if we are to accomplish that goal."

Hagan is now throwing her support behind new legislation that would allow Americans to keep their current insurance plans. In October, she called for the Affordable Care Act to be delayed.

"For her to come out so adamantly and say she didn't want a delay a month ago to saying she does want a delay, I think it's probably one of the biggest political flip-flops in state history, and I think it's disingenuous on her part," said Pope.

The senator's office is fired back saying: "Senator Hagan is working to fix the problems with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act by calling for extended enrollment and supporting a bill to let people stay on their current plans, and this is nothing more than a blatant political attack that does nothing to make things work better. She is committed to making this law work for North Carolinians and she shares their frustration at not being able to use the online exchanges to shop for plans."

State Democrats are also speaking out in her defense.

"While Senator Hagan is making commonsense fixes to get this law implemented better, the North Carolina Republicans, led by Thom Tillis, held our government hostage by supporting a government shutdown and rejected Medicaid expansion to get health care for 500,000 North Carolinians. This is just more of the same tired political nonsense that does nothing to help middle class families," said Micah Beasley, a spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party, in a statement.

The President's health care overhaul could play a prominent role in next year's midterm elections, affecting a number of vulnerable Democrats, including Hagan.

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