Another Broken Promise: Keeping your Health Insurance


Over the last four-plus years, President Obama has often repeated that any American who likes his or her insurance plan can keep it. It was a major part of the Obamacare sales pitch to the nation:

Many Americans knew this claim was suspect, and that it might not end up being true. Via NBC News, however, we now know the Administration realized this wasn’t the case over three years ago:

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.

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

The number could be as high as 80%, according to one expert NBC spoke to.

Over at Fox, Megan Kelly noted Fox verified that the Administration knew its reassurances were dishonest, and explained that while the Administration promised some plans would be grandfathered in, the regulations were written so narrowly that grandfathering was nearly impossible.

So far, the Administration is sticking to a simple talking point – one that Kelly exploded on her show: Rather than admit wrongdoing, President Obama defended exchange compliant plans as better than the ones being eliminated. Jay Carney did this earlier in the week, as did a guest on Kelly’s show.

However, at least one senior House Democrat, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) is slightly more forthright – too little, too late, of course:

“We knew that in requiring the individual market, some five percent of the market, requiring certain minimum standards … what we said in the legislation is look, you’ve got to have minimal coverage so you meet that responsibility. To that extent we knew there were policies that would not meet that, particularly in the individual market,” he said. “We knew there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required more extensive coverage, and of course that coverage is available in the exchange.”

Hoyer defended the broader message but said that Democrats would have been wise to have been clearer that many policies would end up being cancelled.

“I don’t think the message was wrong, I think the message was accurate. It was not precise enough [and] should have been caveated; assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do,” he said.

Since November 2012, supporters of Obamacare have said the law survived an election, and opponents should accept its existence. Instead, the 2012 election was about the promises of Obamacare – promises that are falling apart.