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Clinton White House aides worried about doctor promise similar to Obama's

Years before President Obama bungled his promise that Americans who like their health insurance can keep their health insurance under ObamaCare, the Clinton White House weighed the same pledge. But, in a debate that sounds all too familiar, they worried that the claim wasn't accurate. 

A January 1994 memo between two Clinton White House aides was included in the 4,000 pages of Clinton-era documents released Friday by the National Archives. 

In it, one aide voiced concern that they wouldn't be able to keep the promise that Americans could pick their doctor and health plan under the health care overhaul proposed at that time. 

The memo said: "We have a line on p. 10 that says 'You'll pick the health plan and doctor of your choice.' This sounds great and I know that it's just what people want to hear. But can we get away with it? Isn't the whole thrust of our health plan to steer people toward cheaper, HMO-style providers? It's one thing to say we'll preserve your option to pick the doctor of your choice (recognizing that this will cost more), it's quite another to appear to promise the nation that everyone will get to pick the doctor of his or her choice. And that's exactly what this line does. I am very worried about getting skewered or over-promising here on something we know full well we won't deliver." 

Obama would later promote his Affordable Care Act in part by pledging that anyone who likes their doctor and health plan could keep it. That turned out not to be true, though the administration tried to assuage concerns by letting insurance companies re-offer canceled policies. 

Fox News' James Rosen contributed to this report. 

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