If You Like Your Plan, 7 Million of You Can't Keep It

One of the most consistent promises the President made when selling health reform was that those who liked the insurance plan they had could keep it. For instance, on March 23, 2010 he said “If you like your current insurance, you will keep your current insurance. No government takeover. Nobody’s changing what you’ve got if you’re happy with it.”

A new CBO budget report released today says that’s probably not true for 7 million Americans. That’s the number who are expected to lose employer-based coverage as businesses decide its not worth shelling out for the government approved plans when other options are available.

Over at the Post’s Wonkblog, Sarah Kliff says the big jump in the CBO estimate (from 4 million to 7 million) is the result of the “American Tax Payer Relief Act, which preserved low tax rates for those with incomes below $450,000.” That’s the fiscal cliff deal Congress just worked out in December.

Both sides of the aisle said they wanted to preserve those cuts all along. The only debate was over preserving cuts for top earners. What this means is that the number who would lose health insurance under Obama’s plan has really been 7 million all along, it’s just that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (which CBO assumes will happen as planned even when no one thinks they will) made things look better than they really are.