Timeline: Obama’s promise that people can keep their insurance

October 31, 2013

President Obama's continued promise that Americans would be able to keep their insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act has come back to haunt him. On Wednesday, he argued that 'bad apple insurers" were responsible for canceled insurance plans.

Here's a look at the evolution of Obama's claims - first promising that Americans could keep their doctors, then pledging that they could keep their insurance plans and finally, on Wednesday, explaining why insurance plans might be canceled under the Affordable Care Act.

June 15, 2009: ‘If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.’

“That means that 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.”

– President Obama, in a speech to the American Medical Association, on June 15, 2009 (as the health-care law was being written.)

Sept. 9, 2009: ‘Nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.’

Here are the details that every American needs to know about this plan. First, if you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, or Medicare, or Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have. Let me repeat this: Nothing in our plan requires you to change what you have.

- President Obama, in his address on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress

 March 19, 2010: ‘If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, keep your plan.’

“If you like your doctor, you’re going to be able to keep your doctor. If you like your plan, keep your plan. I don’t believe we should give government or the insurance companies more control over health care in America. I think it’s time to give you, the American people, more control over your health.”

- President Obama's remarks on healthcare reform at George Mason University, a few days before the Affordable Care Act was signed into law

April 1, 2010: ‘If Americans like their doctor, they will keep their doctor. And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it’

“They’ll see that if Americans like their doctor, they will keep their doctor. 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.”

- President Obama's remarks in Portland, Maine a few days after the healthcare law was signed into law.

 

Oct. 4, 2012, presidential debate: ‘If you’ve got health insurance...you keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor.’

And let me tell you exactly what Obamacare did. Number one, if you've got health insurance it doesn't mean a Government takeover. You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around. They can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to let you keep your kid on their insurance—your insurance plan until you're 26 years old. And it also says that you're going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual care.

- President Obama during the first presidential debate in 2012

Sept. 25, 2013: ‘If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.’

“Now, let’s start with the fact that even before the Affordable Care Act fully takes effect, about 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance -– either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you -- especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering. So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything.”

- President Obama, in Prince George's County, a few days before the implementation of the healthcare law

Oct. 30, 2013: ‘Ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans… you’ve got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage’

Remember, before the Affordable Care Act, these bad apple insurers had free rein every single year to limit the care that you received or used minor pre-existing conditions to jack up your premiums or bill you into bankruptcy. So a lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out not to be so good.

Before the Affordable Care Act, the worst of these plans routinely dropped thousands of Americans every single year. And on average, premiums for folks who stayed in their plans for more than a year shot up about 15 percent a year. This wasn't just bad for those folks who were -- had these policies; it was bad for all of us, because, again, when tragedy strikes, and folks can't pay their medical bills, everybody else picks up the tab.

Now if you had one of these substandard plans before the Affordable Care Act became law and you really liked that plan, you were able to keep it. That's what I said when I was running for office.

That was part of the promise we made.

But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans, what we said under the law is, you've got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage because that too was a central premise of the Affordable Care Act from the very beginning.

- President Obama, in Boston, during a speech about the healthcare law

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