Does Obamacare Allow People to Keep Their Current Coverage? - DEBATED
General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Section 1251, “Preservation of Right to Maintain Existing Coverage,” page 43, signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010, available at www.thomas.gov, states:
"(a) No Changes to Existing Coverage –
(1) In General.-- Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed to require that an individual terminate coverage under a group health plan or health insurance coverage in which such individual was enrolled on the date of enactment of this Act."
Estimates of Health Insurance Policy Cancellations (as of Nov. 14, 2013)
Estimated Policy Cancellations
"more than 4.8 million"
Avik Roy, "The Obamacare Exchange Scorecard: Around 100,000 Enrollees and Five Million Cancellations,” forbes.com, Aug. 12, 2013
Los Angeles Times
"About 5 million"
Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, "White House Seeks Quick Fix to Health Policy Cancellations,” latimes.com, Nov. 8, 2013
Chris Jacobs, "Obamacare Numbers: Not Exactly a Retail Success Story,” heritage.org, Nov. 13, 2013
"At least 3.5 million"
Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, "Obama’s Health Law Finally Gets Real for America,” ap.org, Nov. 4, 2013
Barack H. Obama, JD, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in his Nov. 14, 2013 “Statement by the President on the Affordable Care Act,” available at whitehouse.gov:
"[A] problem that has received a lot of attention concerns Americans who have received letters from their insurers that they may be losing the plans they bought in the old individual market, often because they no longer meet the law’s requirements to cover basic benefits like prescription drugs or doctors’ visits.
Now, as I indicated earlier, I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it. And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem. And today I'm offering an idea that will help do it.
Already, people who have plans that predate the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed. That was already in the law. That's what's called a grandfather clause. It was included in the law. Today, we're going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect, and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states. But the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan...
Keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5 percent of the population. So when I said you can keep your health care, I’m looking at folks who’ve got employer-based health care; I’m looking at folks who’ve got Medicare and Medicaid - and that accounts for the vast majority of Americans."
Does Obamacare Allow People to Keep Their Current Coverage? - DEBATED
Barack H. Obama, JD, 44th President of the United States, stated the following in his June 28, 2012 speech, "Remarks by the President on Supreme Court Ruling on the Affordable Care Act," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"[T]oday, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - the name of the health care reform we passed two years ago...
[I]f 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."
Harry Reid, US Senator (D-NV), stated the following a June 29, 2012 speech “Congress Can’t Afford To Waste Time Refighting Old Battles And Should Renew Focus On Creating Jobs,” available at www.reid.senate.gov:
"[W]hat if you're one of the 250 million Americans who already has insurance? Nothing will change.
Nothing will change except that you'll no longer have to worry that if you lose your job, you'll lose your insurance. Nothing will change except that if you get cancer or have a stroke, your insurance company won't be allowed to deny life-saving care because you reach some arbitrary lifetime cap. Nothing will change except that your checkups and preventive care will be free – a provision that's already helped 54 million Americans with private insurance.
You'll be able to keep your plan and keep your doctor. But now you – not the insurance company – will be in control.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) stated the following in its June 14, 2010 press release "U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury Issue Regulation on ‘Grandfathered’ Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act," available at www.hhs.gov:
"The new regulation protects the ability of individuals and businesses to keep their current plan while providing important consumer protections that give Americans – rather than insurance companies – control over their own health care…
The new regulation also provides stability and flexibility to insurers and businesses that offer health insurance coverage as the nation transitions to a more competitive marketplace in 2014 when businesses and consumers will have more affordable choices through exchanges...
While the Affordable Care Act requires all health plans to provide important new benefits to consumers, under the law, plans that existed on March 23, 2010 are exempt from some new requirements. The ‘grandfather rule' issued today makes it clear that these plans can continue to innovate and contain costs by allowing insurers and employers to make routine changes without losing grandfather status. Plans will lose their ‘grandfather' status if they choose to significantly cut benefits or increase out-of-pocket spending for consumers – and consumers in plans that make such changes will gain new consumer protections."
Paul Krugman, PhD, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, stated the following in his Mar. 18, 2012 article "Hurray for Health Reform," available at www.nytimes.com:
"To understand the lies, you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?
For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them."
Spencer Harris, Policy Analyst for the Center for Health Care Policy with the Texas Public Policy Foundation, wrote in his Dec. 2011 article "Broken Promises of Obamacare," available at www.heartland.org:
"Obama emphatically promised, ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it, no matter what.' That's not true either. The restrictions on cost-sharing adjustments leave companies and individuals with little flexibility to change plan details without losing their grandfathered status. The administration estimates between 49 percent and 80 percent of small-employer plans, between 34 percent and 67 percent of large-employer plans, and between 40 percent and 67 percent of individual plans will not be grandfathered by 2014."
Alyene Senger, Research Assistant at the Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, wrote in her July 5, 2012 article "Side Effects: Obama Administration Admits You Can’t Keep Your Health Plan," available at www.heritage.org:
"On several occasions during the health care reform debate, President Obama promised the American people, ‘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.' Now, even the Administration admits that this isn't the case, stating that ‘as a practical matter, a majority of group health plans will lose their grandfather status by 2013.'...
Obamacare puts employers with grandfathered plans in a box. If they make changes to their plans to control increasing costs, they will lose their grandfathered status. Alternatively, if they keep grandfathered status by not making changes, their plans will eventually become unaffordable, forcing them to give them up. Either way, their employees will eventually lose their current coverage..."
Grace-Marie Turner, President of the Galen Institute, wrote in her Dec. 2011 article "Millions to Lose the Health Coverage They Have Now," available at www.galen.org:
"…[M]illions of people are losing ‘the coverage they have now,' and tens of millions more surely will follow...
The Obama administration expects that by 2013, between one-third and two-thirds of the 133 million people with coverage through large employers will lose their grandfathered status. Up to 80 percent of the 43 million people in small employer plans will lose their grandfathered protection. Up to 70 percent of those with coverage in the individual market would be forced to comply with expensive new federal rules within a year. Few of them are likely to lose coverage in the short term, but most will lose the coverage they have now."
Elizabeth Weeks Leonard, JD, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Georgia School of Law, stated in her Apr. 22, 2011 article "Can You Really Keep Your Health Care Plan? The Limits of Grandfathering under the Affordable Care Act," available at www.ssrn.com:
"The Affordable Care Act's ‘grandfather rule' (Section 1251, ‘Preservation of Right to Maintain Existing Coverage') purports to uphold the ‘you can keep your health plan' promise. But the regulatory requirements for plans to retain grandfathered status are nearly impossible to abide under existing market conditions. As a result, most plans will fairly quickly relinquish grandfathered status. When they do, the plans will have to come into full compliance with the Affordable Care Act's host of new requirements for health plans. At that point, ‘your plan' will necessarily change.”