Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post does a nice job explaining why the President’s oft-made claim “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” is not remotely true and why the administration’s current excuses are not believable.
Kessler points out that even back in 2009 the GOP and the Associated Press argued that the President could not possibly keep the promise he had made about people holding on to insurance plans they liked. Nevertheless, the President ignored his critics and kept making the same simplistic promise over and over.
Now that hundreds of thousands of cancellation notices have been received by people on the individual market the White House is claiming the Affordable Care Act is not responsible. Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s top advisor, tweeted “FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans.”
But that’s simply not true or at least it’s only narrowly true if you make a Clintonian parsing of her statement. Within a few months of passing the ACA, Health and Human Services drafted regulations which controlled the “grandfathering” of existing plans. As Kessler points out “HHS wrote them extremely tight.” Effectively, they wrote regulations to insure very few existing plans could survive.
Jay Carney tried to spin this yesterday saying “It’s correct that substandard plans that don’t provide minimum services
that have a lot of fine print that leaves consumers in the lurch, often
because of annual caps or lifetime caps or carve-outs for some
preexisting conditions, those are no longer allowed — because the
Affordable Care Act is built on the premise that health care is not a
privilege, it’s a right, and there should be minimum standards for the
plans available to Americans across the country.” That’s an admission, though you may have to read it a few times to get it.
Kessler concludes “The president’s statements were sweeping and unequivocal — and made both
before and after the bill became law. The White House now cites
technicalities to avoid admitting that he went too far in his repeated
pledge, which, after all, is one of the most famous statements of his
presidency.” He gives the President’s promise four Pinocchios which according to this explanation of the Post’s rating scale means it is a “whopper.”