On June 28, 2012, Obama said this: "If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance. This law will only make it more secure and more affordable."
That statement is coming into question as news reports are starting to emerge that millions of Americans are facing price rate hikes and cancellations of their health insurance. NBC News reports that "the administration knew that more than 40 to 67% of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them."
A politician over promised? Well, let me show you my shocked face:
Fact-checking organizations have long discounted the Presidents' words. Politifact says it is half true. Factcheck.Org says that the President went too far. The problem here is that they only looked at employer-provided insurance, where your policy is controlled by a third party. These news reports deal with individual insurance, where one should expect the President's word to have more meaning. They don't.
Understand what is going on here. The President's promise is based on theory rather than reality. Yes, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) "allows" Americans to keep their existing insurance without penalty. At the same time, the law does everything possible to end your existing insurance plan. CBS reports 2 million policies have been cancelled so far. If you listen to the White House, of course, it is not the fault of the ACA. It is the fault of individuals for exercising free will.
Why are millions of Americans losing their insurance? The ACA changes the economic landscape of the health insurance industry. As a consequence, insurers have determined that millions of policies are unprofitable. Insurers have left markets entirely or cancelled plans on individuals. This is the fault of the insurer.
Even if your insurer continues your plan, there's no guarantee you can keep it. Insurance companies is allowed to "upgrade" your policy to an ACA-compliant plan without your consent. You have to read the fine print of the insurance company's offer to find out how you can keep your plan. This is your fault for not reading the fine-print.
Even if you read the fine print on your insurance offer and act in a timely way, the ACA's regulations make it very difficult for any person to keep their plan for an extended period of time. While you can keep your plan, you can't make even small changes to it. For example, you are not allowed to change your deductible. This is your fault for living.
Even if your insurance needs do not change, your insurance premium is likely to increase until it is unaffordable. The ACA restricts insurance companies from issuing new policies consistent with non-compliant plans and pays participants to leave those plans. Over time, the demographics of any plan will erode until costs explode. This is the fault of greedy insurers.
The White House now concedes that many people will lose their current coverage, but counters that these policies will be replaced with better coverage paid for with tax subsidies that will offset any increased costs. The argument is based on the idea that tax subsidies are free. (Hint: they're not. We pay for them with taxes.)
Nothing is the fault of the ACA. So it is one thing for the President to say, "If you like your healthcare plan, you will be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.” It is another for you to believe it.