White House Website Still Promoting Americans Won’t Lose Insurance Under Obamacare

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(credit: WhiteHouse.gov)

(credit: WhiteHouse.gov)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — The White House website is still promoting that Americans will not lose their health insurance under Obamacare, despite millions getting cancellation notices.

Under “Title I. Quality, Affordable Health Care for All Americans” on the WhiteHouse.gov website, it states that Americans will get to keep their insurance.

“If You Like the Insurance You Have, Keep It: Nothing in the proposal forces anyone to change the insurance they have. Period,” the website states.

Publicly, though, the White House has been reeling that promise back in.

During a speech before Organizing for Action Monday night, President Barack Obama described what he meant when he previously said that no one would lose their coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed. So we wrote into the Affordable Care Act you’re grandfathered in on that plan,” Obama said. “But if the insurance company changes it, then what we’re saying is they’ve got to change it to a higher standard. They’ve got to make it better. They’ve got to improve the quality of the plan that they’re selling. That’s part of the promise that we made, too.”

At least 3.5 million Americans have been issued cancellations, but the exact number is unclear. Associated Press checks find that data is unavailable in a half the states.

Mainly they are people who buy directly from an insurer, instead of having workplace coverage. Officials say these consumers aren’t getting “canceled” but “transitioned” or “migrated” to better plans because their current coverage doesn’t meet minimum standards. They won’t have to go uninsured, and some could save a lot if they qualify for the law’s tax credits.

Speaking in Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall last week, Obama said the problem is limited to fewer than 5 percent of Americans “who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident.”

But in a nation of more than 300 million, 5 percent is a big number — about 15 million people.

White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted Obama had been speaking broadly about the law’s intentions, but he acknowledged that because of the HealthCare.gov website failure, customers losing their current insurance were left with inadequate information about their new options to buy insurance under the law.

“That’s on us and I accept that,” Carney said.

To that effect, Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, met Tuesday with CEOs from some of the largest health insurers, asking for the companies’ help in explaining to Americans whose policies were canceled what options they may have available. The White House said McDonough also solicited input on whether the website fixes were working.

But Carney and other administration officials declined repeatedly to address legislation that lawmakers from both parties were pushing to let individuals retain their existing coverage if they want to. Still, Carney said that in general, allowing insurers to continue selling sub-standard plans would undermine the law’s fundamental purpose.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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