Millions of American families still must face the loss of their health insurance policies because of Obamacare, members of Congress learned at a hearing with insurance company executives this week.
They will join the millions of families who lost their policies over the last six months, also because of Obamacare, the company executives confirmed.
It was at a hearing of the Energy & Commerce Committee that Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., grilled a half-dozen insurance company executives appearing before the committee. The hearing focused on who was responsible for the previous round of policy cancellations and who should face blame for the next round.
A statement on Gardner’s website said: “The witnesses confirmed that these [previous] cancellation notices were sent out due to the president’s healthcare law. It was also disclosed that millions more Americans will see their plans canceled when the president’s healthcare law is fully enforced.”
The conflict arose over Barack Obama’s publicly and repeatedly stated promise: “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.”
But estimates are that about 6 million policies were canceled as the new law started applying its requirements and consumers’ old policies no longer were “compliant” with Obamacare, such as coverage for abortion pills.
The policies were canceled, and consumers were told they were required to find new insurance.
Gardner told the insurance company executives that Obama apologized for the cancellations when he was announcing an extension of the deadline for company-offered policies to meet his demands, and he blamed the cancellations on the insurance industry.
Gardner asked, to start, how many plans the companies offered that do not meet Obamacare’s requirements but are being offered under the extension of the deadline.
Only one respondent, representing the “Blues,” was able to offer an immediate figure: 3.2 million policies.
Others said they would have to do research to reach a number.
There have been many estimates on the total number of families still facing the loss of their insurance, including one that put the number at 20 million.
David Hogberg of the National Center for Public Policy Research said: “If you had your plan prior to March 2010 when Obamacare became law, it was supposed to be grandfathered in. You were supposed to keep it, but the Department of Labor came out with these grandfather regulations. It’s almost like telling a guy you can keep walking on the beach as long as you don’t get any sand on your feet. It’s almost impossible not to violate.”
The first round of cancellations hit those in the individual health-care market. The second round will be for those who get their health insurance through their employers, who were given a delayed deadline by the Obama White House.
In March, the White House said it would let people keep “sub-par” insurance plans through 2016, pushing the deadline past the 2014 mid-term elections.
The carve-out to the Obamacare requirements, according to the Washington Times, was cited by Republicans as offering “further proof that the law is hurting Americans’ health and Democrats’ election chances this fall.”
“Make no mistake, this is yet another cherry-picked delay motivated not out of concern for the millions of Americans who have lost the health care plan they had and liked, but out of a desire to help the president’s political friends escape yet another embarrassing Obamacare blunder at the ballot box,” Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at the time.
When Gardner asked the insurance executives the reason for the previous and coming cancellations – he asked whether it “was because of Obamacare or because of you” – they said without hesitation it was because of the requirements of Obamacare.
“The law required us to send those cancellations,” one executive said.
Asked specifically about Obama’s promise that people could keep their plans if they liked them,” an executive said, “That was not true for 100 percent of our customers.”
WND has reported that the Labor Department already has estimated that 66 percent of small group plans won’t be grandfathered under Obamacare.
“It was obvious from the start that these regulations were going to result in loads of people losing their health insurance, but the president kept making that promise that if you like your insurance you can keep it, when he should have known better and I kind of suspect that he did know better,” Hogberg said.
The issue is not just theoretical for Hogberg, whose employer has fewer than 50 workers. In January, the National Center for Public Policy Research was informed by Kaiser Permanente that the policy the organization used since 1996 no longer met federal standards and had to be canceled. Hogberg said the plan Kaiser now recommends requires an increased premium.
He said the number of Americans set to lose their small group plan coverage is much greater than those affected by the individual market, whether their employers end up finding another plan or dropping coverage and forcing employees to find insurance on the exchanges. As a result, Hogberg predicts this will be another black eye for Obamacare.
“I think this is another reason why Obamacare is in such trouble. First of all, the law shouldn’t be forcing people to lose their insurance to begin with. But if that’s going to happen, if many people are going to lose the plans that they like, I suspect most people would at least prefer to get a new plan that’s better than the old one,” Hogberg said.
“So far, I really don’t see much evidence that that’s happening and quite a bit of evidence that it’s not. People are paying higher premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs. Networks of doctors and hospitals are more restrictive,” he said. “I suspect the Obama administration and other Obamacare supporters are kind of in denial about that. Maybe that denial will end come November, but who knows?”
Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Dr. David Hogberg:
“This week was something new. It was the week Obama was revealed to be a stone-cold liar. … On June 15, 2009, Obama said, in one of hundreds of similar statements, ‘No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like you doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like you health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”
But that simply wasn’t true, Americans have discovered.
“Obama has rebranded himself as a liar, forever,” continued Smith. “He will carry this new label to his grave.”