Obama explains that when he told Americans they could keep their healthcare plans, “period,” under the Affordable Care Act, he actually meant the promise was conditional.
For the second time in a week, President Barack Obama backtracked on his promise to Americans that they could keep their health insurance plans under Obamacare, telling a group of activists on Monday that what he had really meant was that Americans could keep their healthcare plans “if it hasn’t changed since the law passed.”
Speaking at an Organizing for Action health care summit in Washington, D.C., Obama revised a signature mantra of his stump speeches during the Obamacare debate and the 2012 campaign in which he repeatedly said that under Obamacare, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”
In 2009, the President even cut off the possibility of modifiers to that plan. In a speech to the American Medical Association, he stated, “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
In his Monday speech, however, the promise took on newfound nuance. “Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed,” Obama said. “So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you’re grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard.
“They’ve got to make it better, they’ve got to improve the quality of the plan they are selling. That’s part of the promise that we made too. That’s why we went out of our way to make sure that the law allowed for grandfathering.”
In addition to the malfunctioning HealthCare.gov website, millions of Americans have been receiving cancellation notices from their health insurance providers since Obamacare went into effect in October. Mainstream media outlets and personalities–from the Washington Post to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd–that were some of Obama’s fiercest defenders the last four years have called him out on this falsehood, even admitting in hindsight that they were skeptical of Obama’s signature claim.
Obama attempted his first rewrite of history last Wednesday in his healthcare speech at Boston’s Fanueil Hall after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was grilled in front of Congress and apologized for Obamacare’s rollout, which she conceded was a “debacle.”
“For the vast majority of people who have health insurance that works, you can keep it,” Obama said last week in Boston. Obama then said that Americans who were receiving cancellation letters merely had “substandard” insurance plans.