Obama to Dropped Insurance Customers: ‘Just Shop Around in the New Marketplace, That’s What It’s For’

The president says the idea that people are being dropped from their current plans is “grossly” misleading.

President Barack Obama makes remarks during a ceremonial swearing-in of FBI Director James Comey at the FBI Headquarters October 28, 2013.
National Journal
Brian Resnick
See more stories about...
Brian Resnick
Oct. 30, 2013, 12:43 p.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama today ad­dressed con­cerns over people be­ing dropped from their health care in­sur­ance plans since the im­ple­ment­a­tion of Obama­care. Cer­tain people who had pur­chased in­di­vidu­al in­sur­ance plans, in re­cent weeks, are find­ing out that such plans do not com­ply with the new law. And some of these people will have to pay more for up­graded plans.

Crit­ics of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, and fact check­ers at pub­lic­a­tions such as The Wash­ing­ton Post, are say­ing this is a dir­ect con­tra­dic­tion of the pres­id­ent’s cam­paign prom­ise that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” un­der Obama­care.

Ad­dress­ing these con­cerns, the pres­id­ent said these dropped cus­tom­ers should use the new in­sur­ance mar­ket­place to buy bet­ter plans. This, mean­while, was after an ad­mis­sion that such mar­ket­places barely work. The pres­id­ent said that any­one “ped­dling the no­tion” that in­surers are sum­mar­ily drop­ping people is be­ing disin­genu­ous, be­cause the com­pan­ies will of­fer plans in their place. “If you leave that stuff out, you’re be­ing grossly misled.”

Here’s what the pres­id­ent said (em­phas­is ours):

Now, if you had one of these sub­stand­ard plans be­fore the Af­ford­able Care Act be­came … and you really liked that plan, you were able to keep it. That’s what I said when I was run­ning for of­fice. That was part of the prom­ise we made. But ever since the law was passed, if in­surers de­cided to down­grade or can­cel these sub­stand­ard plans, we said un­der the law, you’ve got to re­place them with qual­ity, com­pre­hens­ive cov­er­age. Be­cause that, too, was a cent­ral premise of the Af­ford­able Care Act from the very be­gin­ning. And today that prom­ise means that every plan in the mar­ket­place cov­ers a cor­set of min­im­um be­ne­fits like ma­ter­nity care and pre­vent­at­ive care and pre­scrip­tion drug be­ne­fits and hos­pit­al­iz­a­tion.

And they can’t use al­ler­gies or preg­nancy or a sports in­jury or the fact that you’re a wo­man to charge you more. They can’t do that any­more. They can’t do that any­more. If you couldn’t af­ford cov­er­age be­cause your child had asthma, well, he’s now covered. If you are one of the 45 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans with a men­tal ill­ness, you’re covered. If you’re ex­pect­ing a baby, you’re covered, safer. The sys­tem is more se­cure for you, and it’s more se­cure for every­body. So if you’re get­ting one of these let­ters, just shop around in the new mar­ket­place. That what it’s for.

What We're Following See More »
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
1 days ago

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
1 days ago

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
1 days ago

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
22 hours ago

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
CNN Calls the Primary for Sanders and Trump
9 hours ago

Well that didn’t take long. CNN has already declared Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump the winners of the New Hampshire primary, leaving the rest of the candidates to fight for the scraps. Five minutes later, the Associated Press echoed CNN’s call.