November 1st, 2013
09:52 AM ET
12 months ago

White House defends Obamacare rule that forces new insurance

Washington (CNN) - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday continued to defend the rule in the national health care law that may end up forcing millions of Americans from their health insurance.

Carney's defense of the law comes amid revelations that a grand total of six Americans signed up for Obamacare coverage on the first day the online exchanges went live October 1, according to internal notes provided to the Republican-controlled House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Despite those numbers, the White House remains confident that it will get the millions of new enrollees it needs on the exchanges to avoid massive cost increases, despite technical problems plaguing the healthcare.gov website. The open enrollment period lasts six months, Carney said on CNN's "New Day."

"We are going to get the numbers we need," he said.

As for those on the individual market at risk of losing their health insurance, "you have other options," Carney said of those whose insurance no longer meets the minimum standards required by the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The White House argument of "better options" is a step away from what President Barack Obama has been arguing for years on the stump, that those who want to keep their insurance would be able to do so under Obamacare. Revelations that the claim isn't completely accurate has forced administration officials to re-work their approach.

Fact Check: If you liked your health plan, you can keep your health plan

Carney emphasized Friday that only a fraction of the population, estimated to be five percent, might end up losing their existing health insurance. Most of that is so-called "catastrophic" coverage that is cheap and good for little more than major medical emergencies. And only some of that five percent will actually lose their insurance, Carney said.

When asked by CNN's Chris Cuomo about the law requiring individuals to get new insurance coverage they may not need or want, such as maternity care, Carney argued that many people don't really know or understand what their options are and urged buyers to do their homework. In many cases, "you're going to find out you get better insurance, that's a guarantee, better minimum coverage and at same or lower cost because you'll qualify for a tax credit," he said.

Senate Democrats supported rule that led to insurance cancellations

When it comes to what may be extraneous coverage for some, Carney argued that allowing lower minimum standards would end up keeping some from coverage they need, like mental health.

"You sure don't want your insurance company telling you that they've in the fine print carved out an exception and won't cover the very condition that you have," Carney said.

"That's what the individual insurance market has been like for decades and that's what the Affordable Care Act fixes."


Filed under: Health care • Obamacare • White House
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Scott

    Wire Palladin, S.F.

    What will be the next Faux outrage from the RWNJs when they realize they were wrong about the ACA as it will be successful, and they will be on the wrong side of history again? Maybe 50 years of being the minority party in congress was not much of a lesson to them for their fight against social security and medicare. Now they will pay at the voting booth for lying about ACA, and trying to cause a global economic crisis with their government shutdowns.
    __________________________________
    Real sucessful a total of 5 people signed up WOW... Bottom Line OBama Care is going to bankrupt this nation, cause million to lose insurance. He broke his promise, Obama is a liar,cheat, swindler and con man not fit to hold office.Yet you liberals continue to defend him. I feel sorry for you people.

    November 1, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Tom

    I'm glad to see the White House finally trying to set the record straight. A goal of the ACA always was to establish a minimum standard for what qualifies as health care insurance. What is happening right now is a lot of low-cost, but low-coverage, plans are being purged from the system. That's not a bad thing, but some people are going to see some sticker shock when they sign up for qualifying coverage. Why the White House let the Republicans spin this as a dastardly plot by Obama to cancel medical insurance for Americans is simply a mystery to me. They should have been on top of this non-issue a week ago.

    November 1, 2013 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  3. smith

    @data-What did you do, cuss me out..lol..just messin`. Feelin` is mutual about political engagments. See we agree..lol

    November 1, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    The legislation FORCED them to change the policies because they didn't meet the "minimum requirements" of the law. What good does do to to say the policy can be grandfathered if it doesn't change if they're forcing it to change? Complete nonsense.
    ---------------------------
    Now that is whare you are wrong. You don't understand what a "grandfather clause" actually is. Let me compare it to the construction industry, where thay are commonly found.

    A law is passed that says all new homes must include central air-conditioning, which could raise the cost of the home. BTW, such laws are common in the warmer states. But, the law includes a grandfather clause that says existing homes are not required to add central air, not unless you do some major renovations that would require a building permit. It is common for a homeowner of an existing older home to be required to bring his home up to current code is certain renovations are performed, most commonly in electrical work.

    In other words, it is a decision made by the insurers to modify their policies because they no longer wished to offer the older policies. They could have continued to offer them. They made the voluntary decision to discontinue them, which means new policies must be in conformance with the new law .... or new homes building code in my analogy.

    November 1, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Sheila

    everything will be settled – when November 2014 comes around. either Obama will be a lame bird, for the next 2 yrs – or we will see who will "throw" their hat into the ring" or we will see if the repubs find an opening w/ the aca, if it continues to have issues.

    November 1, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Data Driven

    @Stuffit,

    "Is is not amazing how the democrat liberals and the synchophants in the main stram media demonize the TEA party yet praise Snowden"

    Wrong about Snowden. He has never been treated sympathetically by ANY media, including MSNBC. No liberal posters here defend him, either, except perhaps for myself, because I don't really see the big deal with a guy telling a UK newspaper stuff we basically already knew. Come on, was the NSA story really a revelation? We knew we've been spied on since the Patriot Act. Actually, from even before that.

    November 1, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  7. tiffinS

    I love the look on Jay Carnival's face... Deer in headlights anyone?? Satan is counting the days to take his soul for all the lies he spews.

    November 1, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. just asking

    everything the republicans and tea party have been saying about obamacare and what a disaster it is has turned out to be absolutely true. everything that obama and the democrats have said to get obamacare passed and jammed down our throats has turned out to be lies.

    and we haven't even seen the worse of obamacare yet! obama unilaterally changed the law to delay and hide the most damaging aspect of the law. when tens of millions of americans start losing their healthcare plans next year, the rioting will really start. good work democrats. did you think could lie to the american people forvever and get away with it??? i mean, this affects everybodys healthcare and pocketbook!

    November 1, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Data Driven

    @smith,

    No, I did not cuss you out at all - seriously. I always try to respect my ideological opponents who engage in an honest way. I do admit I'm kind of a smart-aleck to the fly-by-nighters who blast off opinion as fact and then leave without replying back to criticism.

    Basically, (and I'll leave CNN out of it this time) I said that, YES, I agree that Obama should have talked more about the grandfathering issue. He did address it, but that was early days - the talking point evolved into "you can keep it, period" - a big mistake. An understandable one, given the politics. I also agreed that the website rollout was plagued.

    But I also said that both points are overstated. The website is well on its way to being fixed, so I think that whole thing was just meh, and said as much while 10 stories per day were posted here about it. The "Obama lied" thing, while fair, is also small. Isn't the bigger point that insurance companies just drop people in the first place because they don't want to cover their policyholders according to the new standards? Why aren't conservatives mad about that? And haven't we all forgotten that health insurers do this stuff all the time, "Obamacare" or not? And haven't we also forgotten that we can shop around for policies? So many of the anecdotes here are pictures of people being "forced" onto plans that they don't want, and that simply isn't true. We also aren't "forced" to use our employers' plan, if their plan changes dramatically. The "shop around" issue is hardly being addressed by the media, nor by many posters here.

    I think my points are more important than the opposing view. You disagree. And thus the world goes round. :)

    November 1, 2013 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    In other words, it is a decision made by the insurers to modify their policies because they no longer wished to offer the older policies. They could have continued to offer them. They made the voluntary decision to discontinue them, which means new policies must be in conformance with the new law .... or new homes building code in my analogy.
    -------
    Hogwash. Quit while you're behind. You're basically admitting that if anything in the policy changes – from a covered service to a deductible to a copay – that woild be a disqualifying event for the policy's "grandfatherability". Utter nonsense.

    November 1, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Tigas

    "... you can keep your current policy. Period." – Obama

    No need to say anything else.

    November 1, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Boomer in Mo

    Try having a major illness or injury and using the American healthcare system, insured or not. You'll get quite an education. And it will be horrifying for the most part. You should have heard the conversation I had with a couple of insurance company dimwits who tried to claim having your pacemaker replaced was elective surgery and they were not going to pay for it. 45 minutes later, plus one crying idiot clerk, they paid the bill.

    November 1, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Tony

    Just asking, where is the government takeover of health care that Republicans had been babbling about? You still need to get insurance from insurance companies, which are still around. They just raise premiums on their plans, like they were doing before Obamacare.

    November 1, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. William Santiago

    Lifewise of Washington State cancelled our health plan and moved us to the next nearest 'bronze' plan. The usable benefits went down, the premium went up 40%, and the deductible went to $10,500. Those are big numbers! And–my wife can no longer see her doctor of over 20 years. To my Democratic and liberal friends, these are just facts. I think it is only intellectually honest to admit that ACA has major flaws: in concept (little to no cost control), practicality (this doesn't work for the 15 million people like me) and basic fairness. Why not help make things better instead of simply defending Obama and Pelosi? Can you possibly see any situation in which you would >not< defend the ACA? If you can't then your defense is a matter of religion, not logic. If others' experiences are like mine, the White House's defense that plans are easier to compare is utterly irrelevant if what's being compared is (a) too costly to use and (b) loaded with benefits you can't use. But a federal law that requires what I don't need at a cost I can't afford is nothing but a tax for being a citizen and resident of the United States of America.

    November 1, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    just asking

    everything the republicans and tea party have been saying about obamacare and what a disaster it is has turned out to be absolutely true.
    -------------------
    What about Palin and Bachmann's death panels? I would like to see a panel of two dozen people make the millions and millions of "life or death" health care decisions on a daily basis that the Tea Party horrified us with.

    November 1, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  16. California

    Of course. This White House adores dictating to people what they must do.

    November 1, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Wilson

    Galt resumed his pacing. "The world is collapsing," said Taggart, his eyes following Galt irresistibly.
    "People are perishing—and it's you who could save them! Does it matter who's right or wrong? You
    should join us, even if you think we're wrong, you should sacrifice your mind to save them!"
    $

    November 1, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    "Hogwash. Quit while you're behind. You're basically admitting that if anything in the policy changes – from a covered service to a deductible to a copay – that woild be a disqualifying event for the policy's "grandfatherability". Utter nonsense."
    --------------------------–
    You're overlooking the obvious again. You're supposed to be happy with your existing plan, but your INSURER has chosen to make changes to it, most likely for their own financial benefit and to your detriment.

    Besides, the law qualifies what types of changes would break the grandfather clause. It is not any and every least little change. No doubt, a change in what is covered would break the grandfather clause. But again, it is the insurer who is changing your policy, not the law.

    November 1, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Gig 'em

    How much money do you suppose Jay Carney got for his soul?

    November 1, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Data Driven

    @William Santiago,

    "Lifewise of Washington State cancelled our health plan and moved us to the next nearest 'bronze' plan. The usable benefits went down, the premium went up 40%, and the deductible went to $10,500."

    Good post. I disagree with almost all of it.

    You mention "nearest bronze plan". Have you tried looking at the Silver or even Gold plans? Higher monthly premiums, but lower out-of-pocket costs. If you or your wife have current medical issues, the higher premium would eventually lead to bigger savings out-of-pocket. Take some time. SHOP AROUND. Rather than worrying about how we liberals are defending Pelosi and Obama, I urge you to take a few hours of your life to figure your situation out.

    Your original plan, by the way, sounds terrible. Dirt-cheap premiums, perhaps, but did you ever put the actual coverage to the test if you needed it? You talk about "just facts", well, here's another: when it comes to lower premiums, you get less coverage, requiring more out-of-pocket expenses. And it's ALWAYS been that way.

    November 1, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Al

    The White House has to defend this terrible law. For they came out promising the clouds and now that it's the law of the land, it's showing it's true colors. The White House has been taken over by the Devil, yes Satin is now making people have to pay more, for their own words in the law caused the insurance companies to stop the policies since they didn't meet the Democrats requirement of minimum, even though people were happy with what they had. Yes America the Devil has made him what he is today, so when you see you're next policy from the Exchange, don't forget to thank a Democrat for making you pay more.

    November 1, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  22. Data Driven

    @WIlson,

    "Galt resumed his pacing. "The world is collapsing," said Taggart, his eyes following Galt irresistibly.
    "People are perishing—and it's you who could save them! Does it matter who's right or wrong? You
    should join us, even if you think we're wrong, you should sacrifice your mind to save them!"

    Ah, I'd almost forgotten the turgid writing style of Ayn Rand - thanks.

    "his eyes following Galt irresistibly"

    That's comparable to the phrase found so often in old high-school creative writing assignments that I used to grade: "Outside, it was raining."

    November 1, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  23. Targa

    There is absolutely nothing to defend, it is an outright lie made for political purposes. Im only looking at at it from the standpoint if I had made the same statement to anyone myself, they would calll me a liar. To defend it is irrational, to make it appear it says something other than what the statement says is irrational. Its nothing less than damage control for a serious a defining moment in which the president has lost credibility with the American people of all race and creed for which his party will continually suffer into the next two elections whether health care succeeds or fails.

    November 1, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  24. Gurgyl

    ACA is a Law. Just shut up. If your company denies–go to healthcare-Exchange buy at cheaper rate.

    November 1, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. George Alvarez

    "You can keep your own Doctor."

    "Premiums will decrease for everyone."

    "The check's in the mail."

    "I won't cum in your mouth."

    Take your pick.

    November 1, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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