The PJ Tatler

Durbin on Trumpeting Rhetoric About Keeping Your Policy: 'I Said It Because I Believed It'

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he’d be willing to follow former President Clinton’s advice to allow people to keep their health insurance as long as they’re not GOP proposals that aren’t “friendly” enough.

“We need to look at the political reality. We need to be open to constructive changes to make this law work better, but there are those, frankly, who don’t want it to work at all. If those on the other side are willing to sit down in a constructive fashion, move us toward our goal making health insurance available to more and more Americans and reducing costs, that’s a good positive thing to do,” Durbin said on CNN. “I would say to President Clinton, if we can bring that bipartisan group together, we can start to solve some of the problems we’re facing.”

On Thursday the House Rules Committee meets to push forward the Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013, a bill from House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) already opposed by many Democrats.

“Let’s take a close look at some of those proposals. Some of those are not friendly proposals. They’re designed to derail this effort. Keep in mind what we’re putting in insurance policies, that they cannot be canceled if you or someone in your family has a pre-existing condition, no lifetime limits on the payouts for cancer victims and people facing enormous medical bills. These are things which should be part of insurance policy. If we start taking them away, then, frankly, it’s going to be difficult for the insurance industry to produce a product that really is going to serve our needs and that they can adequately tell us what it costs,” Durbin said.

When asked if President Obama lied about saying people could keep the health insurance they liked, Durbin said the point is that “the president apologized.”

“He said very clearly he was sorry if he misled people… It should have been added in this private insurance market every two years, two out of three policies are canceled and changed. This happens frequently in this niche of the market, this part of the market. It should have been clarified from the start but there are ways to resolve this.”

When asked who gave Obama those talking points, Durbin responded, “I certainly wasn’t in on that decision. We’ve got to keep our eye on the goal.”

In fact, Durbin was called out on using the same rhetoric himself.

“Well, I said it because I believed it,” the senator said. “Now I know I should have added, for 98 percent of American people, that is exactly true. For the other 2 percent in the individual market, there is frequent changes in policies. People are used to increases in their premiums and changes in their policies. That is something that’s a reality. It should have been clarified.”