"If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your plan; if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor."
While he was trying to sell Obamacare, a.k.a. the Affordable Care Act, to the American people, President Obama repeatedly promised those who were happy with their existing coverage that they had nothing to worry about from healthcare reform. See the supercut embedded above.
Republicans took a lot of heat recently in some quarters for trying to defund or delay Obamacare, but as Politico points out, the flap over insurance cancellations is forcing journalists to finally take notice:
"For years, the media turned a blind eye to conservatives' insistent warnings, often taking the president's promise for granted. But this week, as health insurance cancellation letters started showing up in Americans' mailboxes and the website rollout flopped, the GOP message finally broke into the mainstream."
An estimated 14 million Americans buy insurance (for themselves and their families) on their own rather than through an employer, and according to CBS News, more than two million of them so far may have already received cancellation notices informing them that they are losing their existing plans, and thereby losing access to their existing healthcare providers network. To make matters worse, the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, is broken, preventing replacement-insurance seekers from reviewing new options.
Obamacare requires insurers to cover 10 so-called essential benefits which rules out many cafeteria/catastrophic plans that many Americans prefer within their budgets and now requires consumers to pay for additional coverage that they neither want nor need or which may be inappropriate for their age or gender.
Earlier this week, NBC News reported that the federal government would allow existing plans in effect as of March 23, 2010, to be grandfathered, i.e., allowed to continue, even if they weren't Obamacare-compliant. Except there was a Catch-22. If any incremental part of a plan changed, the grandfathering would be null and void.
As CBS explains, "That means consumers have to sign on to new plans even if they don't want or need the more generous coverage."
This issue does not merely affect those individuals who are responsible enough to obtain insurance on the individual market, however. The employer mandate has been postponed by one year, but by 2015 all employer-provided plans must also be Obamacare-compliant as well. This means big changes are coming for employer-provided health insurance too, contrary to the Obama administration's claim that only five percent of the population is affected.
According to Forbes.com, "The [Health and Human Services] Departments' mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,' wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the Federal Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their 'grandfather status' and get canceled. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans -- more than half the population -- was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013."
With the employer mandate on the horizon, some businesses already have preemptively dropped employee coverage and shifted their workers to public or private exchanges.
The Washington Post fact-checker gave the president's pledge four Pinocchios.
Legislation amending Obamacare has been introduced in Congress to allow people who like their plan to indeed keep their plan.