November 1st, 2013
09:52 AM ET
9 years 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 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. Sniffit

    "Sniffit – too funny! He and Joe and Hillary and Harry and Nancy got together with a bunch of socialist muslims to come up with a plan to screw with everyone's health insurance and to destroy America!"

    Yep...and they all did it back before he was born so they could make sure his Kenyan birth certificate was destroyed and he could be shipped over to Hawaii where they'd forged everything in preparation for making him POTUS 40-some-odd years later!

    November 1, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    "1. american citizens decide what his insurance policy covers based on his and his family's needs and what they can afford to pay. "

    There was no a la carte, champ. 80% of the public picks from a set of plan options from their employers and that's that. They cover what they cover and almost all of them cover things people will never need or could never need. The 14% of people who are uninsured don't even fit into your argument. The other 6% are split between the 3% who will see no effect and the 3% who will have to change plans to a more comprehensive plan that ONLY IN SOME INSTANCES will have a higher premium. Even in those instances of a higher premium, many of them will be able to obtain a subsidy to offset it.

    You're ridiculous.

    November 1, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC


    Nice intelligent response, but you should have capitalized JUST SHUT UP.. but no one offers a cheaper rate where I live GET IT
    Intolerance illustrated. Judging from all of the idiomatic phrasing, English is not Gurgyl's native language.

    November 1, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. Lee

    If the president and his minions were so convinced that people would flock to the exchanges, there should never have been a need for the cancelation of any policies. People with "sub-standard" policies would have jumped at the chance to ugrade in the marketplace and the the outdated and sub-standard policies would have died on the vine. It is obvious that the president never thought his exchanges would beat out the private sector.

    November 1, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    "1. obama and the democrats have decided the insurance policies of millions of americans do not meet the standards obama and the democrats think they should meet and have outlawed them thus removing them as options for the american citizen. they no longer have the freedom to make that choice, aka freedom"

    Yeah, facts, evidence, expert opinions, data, historical record...none of that should play any role in how the gov't decides to regulate the economy. No no...we should just ignore all of it when it shows just how dangerous and damaging a certain product is. The only freedom people lost here is the freedom to be duped into sub-par, sub-standard, functionally non-existent coverage while they're forking over a premium. I'm sorry that reality's feedback about the types of plans this effects does not support your argument that they were perfectly fine and should exist on the free market...that they were, in fact, borderline fraud on consumers and causing massive problems in terms of personal bankruptcies and damage to the health care industry...but you're just going to have to learn to live with reality's liberal bias.

    "2. obama and the democrats have decided that all american citizens by health insurance must pay for options in their health insurance plans which they do not need and will never use in order to subsidize those costs for other people."

    Almost all insurance plans already did this. This is a non-issue and does not really represent a change except for a very very few people (a small portion of the 3% already mentioned).

    "3. obama and the democrats requirements to carry coverage for items that are not needed by the american citizen paying the bill has driven the costs of the american citizens healthcare insurance far above what they were paying and can afford. the new plans also carry higher deductibles which only add to the cost to the american citizen."

    This might be true if there wasn't also so much that is offsetting such influences, which is why the premiums are in fact coming in well below what was predicted. Moreover, you and the MSM/GOP/Teatroll symbiote are deliberately ignoring very salient, relevant facts here. These premiums are being set by nervous insurance companies who do not have historical data of how the premium landscape looks under this system. There's an element of unknown risk due to the newness, which causes the actuaries to "err on the side of caution." The 80/20 rule is going to cause some serious rebate checks to issue in the coming years (like they did last year, but bigger), but you, the MSM and the Teatrolls desperately don't want any mention of that because it really cramps the hyperbolic pearl-clutching hysteria you all want to generate.

    November 1, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. Tony

    Just asking

    Before Obamacare, American citizens decided what their insurance policies covered as long as they could pay for them. They could keep their insurance plans, but insurance companies could still hike their premiums, so that American citizens could keep their plans as long as they were willing to pay higher premiums. Many plans still covered things that you didn't need, because insurance companies had no incentives to design plans around your needs. Of course, you could always get a bare-bones plans that did not really cover anything.

    After Obamacare, American citizens decide what their insurance policies cover as long as they can pay for them. They can keep their insurance plans, but insurance companies can still hike their premiums, so that American citizens can keep their plans as long as they are willing to pay higher premiums. Many plans still cover things that you don't need, because insurance companies have no incentives to design plans around your needs, unless the government tells them to. You actually can't get bare-bones plans that do not really cover anything under Obamacare.

    November 1, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    "If you're in a state like North Carolina, where the head honchos there decided not to expand Medicaid, you really DON'T have options."

    NC's state gov't is currently controlled by the GOP/Teatrolls. All you've done is highlight how states controlled by the GOP/Teatrolls have deliberately tried to hamper and break implementation of the ACA in order to cause precisely those kinds of problems. They're screwing you in hopes you'll do exactly what you're doing: blaming someone other than them for the screwing they gave you.

    November 1, 2013 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. Hal

    "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.
    Kind of like saying you can keep your plan and your doctor, but later on finding out that was a lie. Remember, you had to pass the law so you can see what is in it. Most single payers are smart enough to read what is in a policy; if my policy doesn't cover maternity and my 56 year old wife gets pregnant (even though I have had a vasectomy 20 years ago), I either 1) Have to pay for it or 2) have her boyfriend pay for it 😉

    November 1, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. glj58

    @Boomer in Mo, I have had two major surgeries any my insurance has paid for it with NO issues.

    November 1, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Lee

    I like you Sniffit. You make semi-rational explanations. But, there is no need to force insurance companies to cancel "sub-standard" policies as Americans would have "seen the light" and forgone their policies for the opportunity to find a great policy in the exchange. The President must feel that Americans cannot and will not see the light and must be forced to a better product. I feel that the people will choose what is right for them and not wait to be forced into an option. In a fair marketplace...the consumer decides, whereas, the federal government just screws everything up. By the way, I am part of the federal government as an Army officer.

    November 1, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. JustUsBikers

    "Carney argued that many people don't really know or understand what their options are and urged buyers to do their homework."

    So he is making the claim there are 3 million people who are stupid and do not have the intelligence to determine if they have good or bad insurance. How arrogant and insulting that statement is for americans!

    November 1, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Mark

    It will never cease to amaze me how obvious someone is and it's like certain people cannot see it. I posted before Obama was first elected letting you all know what was going to happen, and it all has. I said he doesn't have the experience to be President and he wouldn't be able to gt things done in Washington. Instead of you all saying "hey that guy was right" it has become sport to blame the GOP. Sure teh GOP sometimes doesn't play well with others, but this deadlock did not start unlock Obama was elected. Look back on G W Bush's record. You may not like some of it, but he got a whole lot done and got it doen through Congress. Clinton also got things done through a Congress that hated him. So, why can't Obama? Becuase he didn't know how and still doesn't know how. Or it's just too hard!!! His only claim of any serious legislation is Obamacare. And that couldn't even make it thorugh a Democratically lead house and Senate without legislative tricks. If you think the launch was bad, wait until we all get a load of what's to come. You all can wish all you want, but Obama will go down as on of the worst Presidents in history. We all can be proud that he was the first black President. He wanted to be President, but he didn't want the job of President. How do I know all this? Because I have been right about everything since 2007. I really have.

    November 1, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. kelly

    You din't have to go troough any dumb web site. My insurance expires at the end iof the year. My insurance broker got me a better plan. I pay $40 for dental. But even with that, my premioums are $274.50 lower than my old plan. My deducatle is $500 less. I ciould niot be happeir. And I didn't have to do anythung. My broker did it all. When people start signing up they are going to fall in love with Obmamacare.

    November 1, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC


    "Carney argued that many people don't really know or understand what their options are and urged buyers to do their homework."

    So he is making the claim there are 3 million people who are stupid and do not have the intelligence to determine if they have good or bad insurance. How arrogant and insulting that statement is for americans!
    No, what he is actually saying is that the right wing has so saturated the national conversation with misinformation over the past few years that people need to go find out the real truth and facts for themselves.

    November 1, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Brine

    Apparently the few people that were affected in losing their insurance or having it changed must be concentrated where I live. How weird...
    We had good insurance and paid extra for hospitalization....then came Obamacare. We couldn't keep our plan because it was supposedly subpar according to Obama...but I am able to pay triple the amount for less coverage on my own...or pay more for less for the insurance we ended up with that somehow is not subpar but lower quality...and the 5000 deductible bonus from 500. My favorite part was 2 months after being forced to switch getting pneumonia. They tried to get me put into the hospital but unfortunately my out-of-pocket costs made me risk staying at home, taking meds, barely able to eat or drink, and praying for the best for two weeks. This administration are clearly liars as proved over and over again...and they keep trying to sell this pig ear purse and act like it is an upgrade. When I shared my story I had a liberal come on and tell me how I was making it all up and how none of it could be true because 'Obama said'. They have been out to destroy this country morally, financially, socially, and spiritually from day one...and while I'm not opposed to helping people that truly need help...the reality is a large portion of the population would vote for the devil himself if he offered them free cell phones and cable.

    November 1, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. mrkhrrs

    If you still support this president count you can count yourself among the least intelligent in this nation.

    it may have been believable that you were naive after the second lie. It may have been believable that you were gullible after the third or fourth lie, but if you continue to support him at this point, you are a m0r0n. There is no debate, it is not questionable, you are a m0r0n.

    You are being laughed at in the same way that people who fall for nigerian prince schemes are laughed at.

    November 1, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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