FOCUS OF THE WEEK
Administration Addresseses Cancellation of Health Plans
October 31, 2013, 08:00:23 AM
Katie Sullivan
The challenges in reforming healthcare seemingly continue to increase. In a speech to the American Medical Association in July 2009, President Obama said, “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” The president followed up those comments in 2010, remarking, “And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you. It hasn’t happened yet. It won’t happen in the future.” But now those words are being used against the administration, as an estimated 2 million may lose their insurance in the new year.

“There’s a little bit of a danger that if we’re just focused on the obvious ineptitude of the web designers and of the system breakdown—I wouldn’t call it a glitch, I’d call it a breakdown—we’re forgetting the bigger picture here,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio. “Once people do get on they’ll find out they’ll be paying more, not less, and won’t be able to keep what they have.”

The administration maintains that only “substandard” plans are going away, as they do not meet the standard requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As well, they suggest that federal subsidies will assist those facing higher premiums due to new plan constraints.

“Now folks are transitioning to the new standards of the Affordable Care Act which guarantee you can’t be denied, you won’t be kicked off of a policy because you developed a problem, you may be eligible for tax credits, depending on your income,” said Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “So these are important protections that are now available through the Affordable Care Act.”

Officials explain that “technicalities” are to blame in ACA implementation, reminding those who are concerned that the president’s comments were made before the bill was signed into law.

Around the Web

Obama’s Pledge that ‘No One Will Take Away’ Your Health Plan [The Washington Post]

Cancellation of Health Care Plans Replaces Website Problems as Prime Target [The New York Times]