Millions losing health plans under Obamacare. Did president mislead? (+video)
It turns out that at least 7 million Americans will not be able to keep their current health insurance plans under Obamacare, news reports say, despite Obama's assurances that they would.
Despite President Obama’s assurances to the contrary, millions of Americans are discovering that they will not be able to keep their current health insurance when the Affordable Care Act takes full effect next year.Skip to next paragraph
Peter Grier is The Christian Science Monitor's Washington editor. In this capacity, he helps direct coverage for the paper on most news events in the nation's capital.
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Reports Tuesday from CBS and NBC News document this development. According to CBS, US insurance firms have sent health policy cancellation notices to more than 2 million people, with 800,000 in New Jersey alone.
NBC estimates that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million Americans who purchase their health insurance as individuals on the open market can expect a cancellation letter, as their policies don’t meet standards mandated by the ACA.
Mr. Obama has long insisted that under his signature domestic achievement Americans who like their current health plan can keep it. That’s turning out to not be exactly true as the changes produced by the sweeping Obamacare law work their way through the US health system.
But the White House is pushing back against the notion that Obama was misleading, saying that the cancellation notices are in part the result of normal turnover in the individual insurance market.
“What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
So what’s going on here? It’s a complicated subject, so we’ll try to explain it as simply as we can.
First, what’s at issue here are health insurance policies that people buy themselves on the open market, because their employers do not offer insurance, they work for themselves, or they don’t work and don’t qualify for Medicare or Medicaid. It is not about employer-provided health plans, which is how most workers get their coverage.
Second, Obamacare regulations raise the bar for such plans. The ACA requires that they provide fuller and more complete coverage than they did before. Many old cheaper plans that offer coverage only for catastrophic events or that have high deductibles may not meet these new rules.