Despite more than two-dozen video recordings showing otherwise, President Obama said that he never promised Americans they’d be able to keep their health care plans under the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking to supporters in Washington on Monday, Obama claimed that in the past, he said, “You could keep [your plan] if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
However, the Daily Caller reports that there are at least 29 videos showing the president leaving out the crucial words, “if it hasn’t changed.” Instead, he unambiguously stated numerous times that “if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period.”
Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported that some White House officials were worried about making such a pledge, but that ultimately the administration decided to move forward with it.
“Simplification and ease of explanation were a premium, and that was true throughout the process,” Jon Favreau, formerly Obama’s senior speech writer, told the paper.
The last week has seen a flood of stories about individual health care plans being cancelled by insurance companies. As the Washington Post noted, 7-12 million Americans on the individual market are at risk of losing coverage, while the Daily Caller claims an additional 150,000 small-group market plans in Kentucky are being cancelled.
According to Obama, the loss of these plans will be made up by the increased benefits of new ones, which can be purchased in the marketplaces on HealthCare.gov or via the telephone.
“If we had allowed these old plans [to continue]… then we would have broken an even more important promise – making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn’t leave them one illness away from financial ruin,” he said. “So the bottom line is, is that we are making the insurance market better for everybody.”
Complicating the fact that Americans can shop for other plans isn’t just that HealthCare.gov continues to suffer from technical issues. New reports are surfacing that show some insurance companies are misleading individuals in an attempt to push them into costlier coverage.
According to a report by Talking Points Memo, the Kentucky-based insurance company Humana “was pushing customers into a Humana insurance plan that was more expensive than the plan Humana was selling on the Obamacare marketplace, without the financial help available under Obamcare.”
The rollout of the Affordable Care Act was likely to run into some trouble regardless, but the current landscape seems to be one in which Americans are confused by a dysfunctional website, promises made by the administration, and maneuvering by insurance companies.
In his remarks, the president denied he told Americans they’d be able to keep their plans, but admitted that mistakes have been made, such as the bungled management of HealthCare.gov.
“We got [Obamacare] done. Now, let’s face it, a lot of us didn’t realize that passing the law was the easy part,” he said.