And yet the president shamelessly promised time and again on the campaign trail and elsewhere that, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.” Here on earth, however, a new and damning NBC News report released just last night obliterates this perennial White House talking point. Ouch:
President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.
Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC News that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”
None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.
Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”
That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
If Americans weren’t already deeply suspicious of the “Affordable” Care Act, they should be now. If true, this report confirms something rather startling: Team Obama knew pretty much from the beginning that millions of Americans would lose their health insurance plans under Obamacare. But did that stop them from peddling the you-can-keep-your-insurance-plan-no-matter-what falsehood? Nope. Understanding that individuals and families who liked their health care plans would, obviously, like to keep them (after all, this was a central promise of the law) the political fallout for coming clean would be too devastating to bear during a presidential election year. So what, pray tell, did the president do? He lied repeatedly to the American public, of course -- even though he reportedly knew from the start what he was promising was wholly unrealistic. As a result, millions of Americans (some of whom actually voted for the president and supported Obamacare down the stretch) will now face higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs after purchasing new (and unaffordable) insurance plans. Sadly, the following are three Americans, from the NBC News report alone, who were impacted by the administration’s deception:
George Schwab, 62, of North Carolina, said he was "perfectly happy" with his plan from Blue Cross Blue Shield, which also insured his wife for a $228 monthly premium. But this past September, he was surprised to receive a letter saying his policy was no longer available. The "comparable" plan the insurance company offered him carried a $1,208 monthly premium and a $5,500 deductible. …
Heather Goldwater, 38, of South Carolina, is raising a new baby while running her own PR firm. She said she received a letter last July from Cigna, her insurance company, that said the company would no longer offer her individual plan, and promised to send a letter by October offering a comparable option. So far, she hasn't received anything. …
Richard Helgren, a Lansing, Mich., retiree, said he was “irate” when he received a letter informing him that his wife Amy's $559 a month health plan was being changed because of the law. The plan the insurer offered raised his deductible from $0 to $2,500, and the company gave him 17 days to decide.
In retrospect, it seems rather naïve to believe that the president’s signature health care law would insure millions of previously uninsured Americans and then everybody’s health care costs would go down. But that was the original promise, as hard as it is to believe. Little wonder, then, that Obamacare is becoming a great disappointment -- even for the millions Americans who haven't yet lost their health insurance plans.