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Health insurance mess puts Obama's credibility on the line (+video)

It’s been a terrible week for President Obama as he keeps taking hits on the Affordable Care Act. A majority of voters now say Obama is not ‘honest and trustworthy,’ and his job approval rating has dropped to the level of George W. Bush.

By Staff writer / November 16, 2013

President Barack Obama speaks about his signature health care law Thursday in the White House press room. Bowing to pressure, Obama has agreed to permit continued sale of individual insurance plans that have been canceled because they failed to meet coverage standards under the Affordable Care Act.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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The headlines seemed to come in a rapid-fire rhetorical onslaught.

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Staff writer and editor

Brad Knickerbocker is a staff writer and editor based in Ashland, Oregon.

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If President Obama has had a worse week than the one just ending, it’s hard to remember.

He had to apologize for the Affordable Care Act computer problems that have turned out to be far more than “glitches.” He acknowledged having misspoke – Republicans say he lied – when he told the American people they could keep their existing health-care plans. He watched as more than three dozen Democratic House members jumped ship to vote for a Republican bill adjusting Obamacare in a way the White House threatens to veto.

"I'm just going to keep on working as hard as I can around the priorities that I think the American people care about,” Obama said Thursday in what must have been an excruciating press conference. “And I think it's legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this health-care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general."

Fumbling in football was the image he raised again and again.

“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law,” he said. “I am very frustrated, but I’m also somebody who, if I fumbled the ball, you know, I’m going to wait until I get the next play, and then I’m going to try to run as hard as I can and do right by the team.”

Questions remain. Will there be a “next play” for the embattled president, or will he be effectively benched? And who, exactly, is his “team” anymore?

The Washington Post’s “The Fix” political blog helpfully points out “The five biggest ways Obamacare’s problems have hurt Democrats” – a party that’s beginning to feel the kind of angst the GOP did last month when most Americans blamed the GOP for the government shutdown.

Thirty-nine Democrats joined Republicans Friday to pass a House bill that would allow insurers to keep selling the kinds of policies that were being canceled for existing customers. Not only that, they could offer such policies to new customers.

"It would take away the core protections of that law," complained Rep. Henry Waxman (D) of California. “It creates an entire shadow market of substandard health-care plans.”

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