President Obama may have some explaining to do after NBC reported Monday night that he misled Americans for the past three years into believing they could hang onto their health insurance when in fact the fine print of Obamacare would force millions of them to give it up.
The NBC report comes on the heels of a report last week by Kaiser Health News that insurers have sent notices to 500,000 people from California to Florida with private plans that their coverage is being terminated at the end of the year because it doesn’t meet the new, higher standards set under the Affordable Care Act.
Obama has made the promise that satisfied Americans could keep their current policies—a bedrock of his public pitch on behalf of his signature health care plan. Yet the administration has known for at least three years that many would end up seeing their policies canceled, according to NBC News.
The blockbuster report says four sources deeply involved with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act told the network 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, NBC says:
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.
House Republicans may have a question or two about all of this when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testifies about the rocky implementation of Obamacare on Capitol Hill Wednesday.