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The Truth about ObamaCare: “What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play”

by | Oct 29, 2013

By Dave Andrusko

obamacare87Let’s put together a few quotes that dramatically illustrate the gap between what people were told about ObamaCare’s health insurance exchanges; what had been known for years (which the Administration nonetheless adamantly insists it didn’t know); and the stubborn insistence that the exchanges are “working” and will work “better.”

In reverse order: From NBC News’ Maggie Fox report this morning:

“The head of the agency running the troubled federal government health insurance website apologized for the website’s problems Tuesday, promising once again that they would be fixed.

“But Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner insisted the website, the crowning glory of 2010 Affordable Care Act, was working and would eventually work better. She also pushed back against allegations that the administration misled people about whether they could keep health plans they liked, saying any cancelled plans were scrapped by insurers who knew they were not meeting the law’s requirements. …’This healthcare.gov site is fixable,’ she said. ‘The system is working. It’s just not working as smoothly and consistently as we want,’ she added later.”

And speaking of what they knew and when they knew it, NBC News’ Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye wrote

“President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

“Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a ‘cancellation’ letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience ‘sticker shock.’

“None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be ‘grandfathered,’ meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.”

And while it’s like pulling teeth, the Obama administration kind of, sort of concedes that is true by (what else?) re-writing history. Myers and Rappleye note

“White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the president’s promise that consumers would be able to keep their health care. ‘What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,’ Carney said. ‘So it’s true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.’”

What do these “changes” mean in real life? Jan Crawford, of CBS News, has done some of the best work. According to a story on the website of “CBS This Morning” (CTM), she said of these “changes” that they are

“being told through anecdotes in local papers and on social media. But the hard numbers reveal the evidence is far more than anecdotal. CBS News has confirmed with insurance companies across the country that more than two million people are getting notices they no longer can keep their existing plans. In California, there are 279,000; in Michigan, 140,000; Florida, 300,000; and in New Jersey, 800,000. And those numbers are certain to go even higher. Some companies who tell CBS News they’ve sent letters won’t say how many.

“Industry experts like Larry Levitt, of the Kaiser Family Foundation, say the insurance companies have no choice. ‘What we’re seeing now is reality coming into play,’ he said.

“Obamacare forces them to drop many of their plans that don’t meet the law’s 10 minimum standards, including maternity care, emergency visits, mental health treatment and even pediatric dental care.

“That means consumers have to sign on to new plans even if they don’t want or need the more generous coverage. …

“And for the people who’ve gotten the letters, the broken website is a real problem, Crawford added on ‘CTM. They don’t know what to do. They don’t know if they get subsidies. And then there are others getting the letters who have very good insurance but are being told they can’t keep it. Industry experts CBS News talked to say for everyone, the best bet is to just call their insurance companies to get the information.”

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Categories: ObamaCare
Tags: ObamaCare