CBS’s Major Garrett: Holding White House Feet to Fire

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In two consecutive press conferences by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, CBS White House Correspondent Major Garrett has targeted Carney with direct questions about the promise “you can keep you health insurance if you like it” and the more recent blaming of insurance companies for insurance losses.

First, from October 29, via Washington Free Beacon:

MAJOR GARRETT: As for the Affordable Care Act, Valerie Jarrett sent out a tweet last night saying nothing in the Affordable Care Act is requiring any of these changes. and I’d like to see if you could just say — understand how — the way the American public would say, wait a minute, the law itself creates the means by which the administration judges, whether an individual insurance policy has changed sufficiently to meet the standards….

Carney stammered out a response, which is reposted in part below:

And so…the law granted a grandfather status to individuals who had insurance on the individual market before the passage of the Affordable Care Act and kept that insurance and wanted to keep it for as long as they were alive if it — is the insurer wanted to have them on that plan.

As the Beacon noted, however, between the Obamacare regulations and the normal changes in insurance markets, grandfathering plans would be nearly impossible for the vast majority of insurers and their customers.

On Thursday, Garrett reminded Carney that in 2008 the President said he would tell the American people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. He asked if the President had, “for those in the individual insurance market [who are losing their insurance at high rates due to Obamacare] did the President tell them all that they needed to hear, or principally what they wanted to hear?”

Carney tried to get around the question, but Garrett cut him off quickly, noting that while plans may end up being “better,” certainly right now people “feel that they were, if not lied to, misled, or that a standard the President set wasn’t met.”

Carney spent the next several minutes defending Obamacare, stating that if you were on a plan prior to Obamacare’s passage in 2010, you could be on it. But as the Beacon noted, changes in the insurance market happen so often the exact plans were highly unlikely to be kept.

Carney also brushed off the concerns of those on the individual market, stating they were only a fraction of the 5% of the nation on the individual insurance market. However, the President’s promise about keeping plans offered no such caveats.

Carney also blamed the media for exaggerating the negative effects of Obamacare. Given the debacle that is Obamacare, it is hard to embellish its failures.

Fox’s Ed Henry followed up with a quick fact-check of Carney’s statement, noting how the employer-based insurance market is expected to see dramatic change by the end of 2013, including a lot of lost insurance by employees – and thus Carney’s statement about only part of 5% of the insurance market being affected is false. Carney avoided the question, extolling the alleged benefits of Obamacare.