August 16th, 2009
11:08 AM ET
5 years ago

Aide: Obama 'can't prevent employers from dropping coverage'

HHS Secretary Sebelius discussed health care reform Sunday on State of the Union.
HHS Secretary Sebelius discussed health care reform Sunday on State of the Union.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A top Obama aide said Sunday that even if health care reform legislation is passed, the president cannot prevent employers from dropping health care coverage.

Asked about Mr. Obama’s comments Tuesday at New Hampshire that “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the president could not ensure that employees would not lose coverage if Democrats succeed in passing health care reform legislation.

“Clearly, he can’t prevent employers from dropping coverage,” Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “and it happens all the time although health reform will stabilize that marketplace.”

“I think, at the end of the day, what [Obama’s] saying is that you’re going to have a stronger employer-based system – encourage more employers to stay where they are and encourage more doctors to actually participate in the system. Clearly, he can’t mandate that a doctor not retire or that an employer not switch a plan that might have a different network of doctors."

Sebelius also told King about a deal the administration has struck with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry that will help contain costs for prescription drugs especially for senior citizens covered by Medicare who need prescription drugs.

Related: Health care in America

soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. annie for Palin

    If obama cut a deal with drug companies you can bet what little you have left of your paycheck that it benefited him and this corrupt administration – it certainly did not benefit the AMERICAN people!!!

    August 16, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. S M R

    Health care reform is a "NO BRAINER".

    August 16, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. S M R

    The MONOPOLY Insurance companies has on health care needs to be broken.

    August 16, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. S M R

    The Obama Administration is HONEST and wants what is best for the American People and OUR future.

    August 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. ran

    If an employer was really concerned about his/her company and her/his employees they would want a single payer non-profit option where more money would go toward health care and less toward private insurance overhead ( that is multimillion $ salaries/bonuses for executives and dividends to shareholders and insurance companies' private jest.).

    Without the above overhead the money spent on premiums could go down for the employer and they could give raises to their employees or hire more people.

    Think about it people: lower premiums, raises, more people working.
    That is what you will get with a non-profit option. With a profit you will continue to get what you have now: higher premiums, loss jobs and poor health coverage.

    Truly is a non-brain-er. So demand a single payer non-profit.

    August 16, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. brucen2

    I'm currently living with 2 chronic life-threatening illnesses that are shortening my life every day. Without Medicare & Medicare Advantage, I will NOT survive! Why can't the Obama administration & Democrats give us some REAL INFO on the plans they're considering! Why can't we have PLAIN LANGUAGE – EASY TO READ & UNDERSTAND! They're truly SCARING ME TO DEATH!

    August 16, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. S M R

    Employers will drop coverage because the public option will be so much cheaper. Thats why the Special Interest Groups and Insurance companies are fighting so hard.against change.

    August 16, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Ask not what big business can do for you but what can you do for big business

    My name says it all.

    August 16, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Tom

    It is actually very simple problem. If an employer drops health care coverage or does not have coverage then the salary expense of his employees is not tax deductible. Why should the tax code not be used to encourage responsible business?

    Second, employers need to pay a fair living wage but wages and salary should reflect the cost to the employer. In other words, employees can opt out and get higher salary if they have other coverage, say from a spouse.

    August 16, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. John in WV

    It would be foolish for anyone who has employer provided health care to think that they get it because their employers want them to have it. Yet they will stand up against those of us who don't have it as if we don't deserve it and making it affordable for us poses a threat to their well being. I was a union man for 32 years and always supported worker's rights to good wages and benefits. Not anymore. Go out and get your health care for the same price it will cost me.

    August 16, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. yuri

    If the economy improves and the market forces continue to move north, it is fondly hoped that the consumers will have ample choice to choose the system the prefer based on their own judgements. This will hopefully involve the employers and the employed.

    August 16, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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