November 5, 2013

“If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period.” That was President Obama’s promise to the American public, reiterated numerous times. But it turns out the “period” should have been a comma, followed by “unless we decide your plan is inadequate.”

Even now, when Mr. Obama is having to admit the falsity of his claim [“Health-care vow comes back to haunt Obama,” news, Oct. 31], he is saying that the plans people can no longer keep are “cut-rate plans” from “bad-apple insurers.”

I retired two years ago at age 61. I studied my options and decided on a high-deductible policy that covers my wife and me for $266 per month. That may make it a “cut-rate plan,” but it was all we needed. We can afford to pay out-of-pocket for routine care; I just wanted protection against a catastrophic health event. And our plan is not with a “bad-apple insurer” but a large, well-known and respected provider.

The Affordable Care Act mandates 10 “essential health benefits” that all plans must provide. I know better than the government what my wife and I need — and what we don’t. We don’t need substance-abuse services or maternity care, but these are now required. So our plan is being stopped, and now to accomplish my insurance goals I will have to pay a lot more.

The uproar over this is not just partisan rancor. I voted for the president, and I don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I spent 35 years as a family doctor serving poor folks, and I believe the Affordable Care Act is needed. But it’s not too late to make a few amendments to it that would make the president’s promise a fact.

Robert G. Brown, Lovettsville