Not everyone keeping their insurance

Posted October 29, 2013

— As Americans for Prosperity kicked off the unofficial start of political ad fact-checking season for the 2014 elections with a commercial focused on the Affordable Care Act, it's worth going back to note what might be considered the original fib of the health care debate.

Appropriately, it was committed by President Barack Obama himself, who repeatedly told Americans that, if they like their current insurance, they would be able to keep it.

"Now, the way we have approached it is that, if you've got health care under a private plan, if your employer provides you health care or you buy your own health care and you're happy with it, you won't have to change," Obama said during one 2009 appearance, making a claim he would go on to repeat many times and in many different ways. 

Both CBS' and NBC's national news teams have been reporting this week that administration officials knew this claim was a stretch. But the idea that everyone would keep their health insurance has been called into question publicly since 2009, the year before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. 

The fact-checking website PolitiFact noted in an August 2009 piece that there was lot that was simply unknown about what shape the final bill would take. Kyle Wingfield, a conservative commentator for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, pointed out in July of 2009 that legislation before Congress at the time would have required people to change plans. 

Also in 2009, writers at FactCheck.org focused mainly on how employers might behave once the new health care law rolled out. The site pointed to a Congressional Budget Office estimate that "in 2016, about 3 million people (including spouses and dependents of workers) who would be covered by an employment-based plan under current law would not have an offer of coverage under one draft of the health care law."

What all that says is that the president and his supporters were writing rhetorical checks they could never cash a year before the law passed.

At this point, we still don't know exactly how businesses will react to mandates that they cover their employees or pay a tax penalty. That's because the Obama administration pushed back the effective date of the "employer mandate" until 2015

But some Americans did find out for sure this month they will have to change insurance policies. These are largely people who buy low-premium individual insurance policy plans that don't meet the requirements for insurance policies laid out by the health care law. The law requires "minimum essential services" that a health plan must provide, even if it is primarily designed to be used only in case of catastrophic illness. 

"Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies," Kaiser Health News reported.

The Associated Press, citing the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, reported in May that many carriers would opt to cancel policies this fall and issue new ones. Administratively, that was seen as easier than changing existing plans to comply with the new law, which mandates coverage of more services and provides better financial protection against catastrophic illnesses.

Those who have gotten those notices say they feel misled by the president, and it would be hard to argue in any realistic way that the president has been able to keep his pledge.


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  • robertbsmith1 Nov 5, 2013

    Would be interesting for WRAL to report how many North Carolinians are loosing their current health care plans and how much their premiums will increase under Obamacare. Mine doubled and it is with BCBSNC.....don't think it was an "inferior plan" as Obama points out. Bet if a Republican president told the lies this president told the Dems would be screaming for impeachment. When Obama's lips are moving, you can bet he is lying!

  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    "No one will take it away, no matter what.”

  • Hubris Nov 1, 2013

    "Appropriately, it was committed by President Barack Obama himself, who repeatedly told Americans that, if they like their current insurance, they would be able to keep it."

    And you're just now realizing this? This is old news.

  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    "That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” ~ President Obama, speech to the American Medical Association, June 15, 2009

    Let us review: ".... no matter what".

    No matter what.


  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    Since I know a lawyer wouldn't be familiar with the definition:

    A lie of omission is one where one lies by omitting an important fact, deliberately leaving another person with a misconception. Lying by omission includes failures to correct pre-existing misconceptions. An example is when the seller of a car declares it has been serviced regularly but does not tell that a fault was reported at the last service.

  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    "They are a private business. They can decide to offer it or not. Each year."

    But, "if I like my plan, I can keep it", even if it is cancelled as an indirect result of the ACA.

    Got it.

    So, what Bo should have said is: "IF your plan survives and you like it, you can keep it. It has very little chance of surviving, but pfffft, that's your problem. I need to get this thing passed".

    A lie of omission is still a lie.

    Obama lied.

  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    "The cancelled plans (due to the ACA) are NEWER, NON GRANDFATHERED ONES that NOW have to meet those requirements."

    Quite clearly, they are not.

    So please stop lying about this.

    Merritt would be so ashamed.

  • junkmail5 Nov 1, 2013

    OK, nothing REQUIRES me to terminate my plan. Got it- beau peep

    great, you admit I'm right!

    A grandfathered policy does NOT have to comply with the ACA.

    In fact, that's kind of the meaning of being grandfathered.

    So when you claimed "yes it does" you were wrong.

    Thanks for admitting it!

    Now. What requires them to offer it?- beaupeep

    They are a private business. They can decide to offer it or not. Each year.

    That was the case BEFORE the ACA too. Just as it's the case AFTER the ACA.

    the point was nothing IN the ACA requires them to change it, or STOP offering it.

    Doing so remains their own business decision just like it was before the law.

  • beaupeep Nov 1, 2013

    "If you are grandfathered you do NOT have to meet ACA requirements."

    And I can still buy leaded gas for my '71 Vega, right?

  • GovernmentMule Nov 1, 2013

    "“The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,”- mike275132

    Ok, great.

    Thanks for proving what I said earlier- that LARGE numbers of folks will STILL have grandfathered plans after this year." - junk

    But HUGE NUMBERS WON'T, will they, junk? Not exactly what Obama promised now, is it?