Reed, Whitehouse say Obama's apology was appropriate - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Reed, Whitehouse say Obama's apology was appropriate

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Rhode Island Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse said Friday that President Barack Obama's apology was appropriate after his healthcare reform kicked millions of people of their insurance.

Reed and Whitehouse are supporters of Obama and the healthcare reform he passed.

"What's important is that the website get fixed," Reed said.

Reed and Whitehouse benefit from the fact that Rhode Island has its own health exchange.

The state's stringent insurance mandates prevented substandard policies from even being on the market, so few of their constituents will actually lose insurance.

However, a perception issue remains about the President's repeated promise that "if you like your health plan, you can keep it – period." Millions were unable to do that.

Obama made a stab at diffusing the criticism during an interview on NBC News Thursday night.

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

Whitehouse said he thinks it will blow over.

"(Keeping your health insurance) is true for 95 percent of people. And for the 5 percent for whom it's not true and particularly for the probably 2 percent for whom there is not a better and cheaper alternative, I think they were entitled to the apology. And I'm glad he made it and hope we can now move on," he said.

Democrats around the country are going to be tied to Obama's statements come election time, but Whitehouse believes the promise will not be high on voters' minds.

"I think the bigger concern is the botched website roll out. And if they can get that fixed as they say by the end of the month, then you have a whole year until the election and people get to see the benefits. And then you've got an electoral piece of history rather than a live issue by then," Whitehouse said.

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