Focus Shifts From Obamacare Website Problems to Insurance Cancellations

The president is on the defensive over his claim that individuals can keep their previous insurance plans under the ACA.

President Obama speaks about fiscal policy at George Washington University on April 13, 2011 in Washington, DC. President Obama laid out his plan for deficit and debt reduction.
National Journal
Sophie Novack
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Sophie Novack
Oct. 30, 2013, 2:37 a.m.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion is on the de­fens­ive this week over Pres­id­ent Obama’s claim that “if you like your plan, you can keep it” un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ports.

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of in­di­vidu­als have been re­ceiv­ing can­cel­la­tion no­tices from their in­sur­ance com­pan­ies re­cently, a num­ber that NBC News said would grow to mil­lions, in what ap­peared to be a scath­ing in­vest­ig­at­ive re­port this week. “The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has known that for at least three years.”

Yet we’ve all known this for at least three years, Think­Pro­gress poin­ted out in re­sponse, cit­ing an art­icle in The Hill from 2010 that in­cludes the same es­tim­ates of people who could lose their cur­rent in­sur­ance plans.

In­di­vidu­als may keep their “grand­fathered” plans from be­fore March 23, 2010, un­less the plans change sig­ni­fic­antly and do not in­clude pro­tec­tions re­quired un­der the law, such as the 10 es­sen­tial health be­ne­fits, and no dis­crim­in­a­tion against preex­ist­ing con­di­tions or against gender.

The ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tends in­di­vidu­als los­ing their plans will have ac­cess to more com­pre­hens­ive, high­er-qual­ity ones un­der the health care law, of­ten at more af­ford­able costs, when premi­um sub­sidies are factored in. Cen­ters for Medi­care and Medi­caid Ser­vices Ad­min­is­trat­or Mar­ilyn Taven­ner said in a House Ways and Means hear­ing on Tues­day that in­sur­ance can­cel­la­tions have been go­ing on long be­fore the ACA, but now the law in­cludes fur­ther pro­tec­tions for those in­di­vidu­als. The hear­ing fo­cused more on the is­sue of plan can­cel­la­tions than prob­lems with Health­Care.gov. 

The con­tro­versy sur­round­ing the is­sue of can­cel­la­tions has many in a frenzy, as the ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tin­ues to work to re­pair the web­site and main­tain that cov­er­age will be bet­ter un­der Obama­care. Yet if this ar­gu­ment con­tin­ues to gain trac­tion, a per­ceived broken prom­ise could prove to be more dif­fi­cult to mend than a broken web­site. 

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