Carney: Obama didn’t mislead on keeping insurance plans

October 29, 2013
White House press secretary Jay Carney says President Obama did not mislead the American people when he said that those who liked their insurance plans could stay on them even after the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. (The Washington Post)

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that President Obama did not mislead the American people when he said the anybody who liked his or her health insurance plan could keep it after the health-care law's implementation.

"No," Carney said at Tuesday's White house briefing when asked directly whether Obama misled. "The president was clear about a basic fact: If you had insurance that you liked on the individual market and you wanted to keep that insurance through 2010, '11, '12, '13, and in perpetuity if you wanted it and it was available, you could. You were grandfathered in."

Carney said the statement was true but that it couldn't account for insurers canceling or changing existing plans after the law was passed. Existing plans that don't meet a set of standards set out by the health-care law have been canceled.

"What no health care reform could envision or could responsibly stipulate is that any plan that might come along in the next few years would be grandfathered in because that would undermine the basic premise of providing minimum benefits for the American people," Carney said.

"So again, in all of these cases, what is absolutely true is that if you had a plan before the Affordable Care Act that you liked on the individual market, and your insurance company didn't take that away from you and offer you instead something else that you then purchased, but they provided you the same plan this whole time, you can keep it. And that's true."

Reporters relentlessly questioned Carney on the years-old and oft-repeated claim by Obama and the administration, in light of recent disclosures that many or most people who have purchased insurance as individuals could see those plans canceled.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Anne Bartlett · October 29, 2013