Updated 3:18 p.m. ET, 11/5/13
Washington (CNN) - President Obama continues to alter his signature promise in selling the Affordable Care Act back in 2009 and 2010.
"If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," he said back then.
But that simple pledge has had to change as the Affordable Care Act has been implemented and a small percentage of Americans, albeit millions of people, have received cancellation notices from their insurance companies. And for the second time in two weeks, he's tweaked the line.
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When President Obama spoke Monday night to a group of supporters, he said: "While virtually every insurer is offering new, better plans and competing for these folks' business, I realize that can be scary for people if you just get some notice like that."
"If you had or have one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was, you could keep it if hasn't changed since the law's passed," added Obama.
"You're grandfathered in," although he again noted insurance companies had the power to change it themselves.
CNN White House Senior Correspondent Jim Acosta asked White House Spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday if the president could go back, would he "use the same words again" and promise Americans they could keep their plans?
"Well, the president, as awesomely powerful as the office is, can't go back in time," Carney said. "And what the president is focused on is what we are all focused on which is getting this right for the American people."
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"It is on us," Carney later added. "Let me be clear, I'm not – I am embracing the responsibility that the administration and that everyone involved in the market place has, to make sure that those individuals are getting the information that they need."
The President made his comments Monday in an address to Organizing for Action, the pro-Obama group formed from the President's 2012 re-election campaign.
Even though some people are getting kicked off existing plans, Obama has argued they're probably going to get a better deal.
"Now, insurers are offering these new options, and they don't just want to keep their current policyholders; they want to cover the uninsured, too," he told supporters.
"And because of the competition between insurers, and the new health care tax credits, most people will be able to buy better plans for the same price or even cheaper than what they've gotten before. Now, some Americans with higher incomes will pay more on the front end for better insurance with better benefits and better protections that could eventually help them a lot, even if right now they'd rather be paying less."
He made similar points at a health care event in Boston last Wednesday.
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The new line is a far cry from the shorter, bumper sticker ready pledge he made as he sought to calm nerves that health insurance reform would not ruin plans that Americans liked and were comfortable with even though many of those plans didn't cover things like prescription drugs, hospital stays or maternity care.
It wasn't a one off back in 2009 and 2010 and even later during his 2012 re-election campaign. New York Magazine put together a montage of the very many iterations of it.
But it turns out the president didn't have the power to make that pledge. As insurance companies upgrade plans to comply with new Obamacare coverage rules, they are dropping plans for potentially millions of Americans who buy their insurance on the individual health insurance market.
Insurance companies appear to be doing this for a variety of reasons; some are pulling all their plans from certain states where they have fewer subscribers in order to save money, others seem to be.
Insurers send cancellation notices
Back in 2009, as a White House correspondent for ABC, CNN's Jake Tapper challenged the president on his promise. And even back then, there appeared to be an asterisk.
"Well, no, no, I mean – when I say if you have your plan and you like it and your doctor has a plan, or you have a doctor and you like your doctor that you don't have to change plans, what I'm saying is the government is not going to make you change plans under health reform," Obama replied.
Ah ... the government is not going to make you change plans. Though the government might impose a situation that would cause a change of plans. So the promise was never quite as presented. And yet the president kept presenting it that way.
But that caveat didn't make it into the subsequent campaign speeches that featured the line.
The cancellations will not affect most Americans, but they could hurt public support for the law. Just 17% of Americans said they'll be better off under the law, but 41% said it won't have much of an effect on them, according to a CNN/ORC International poll conducted in late September, just before the HealthCare.gov website went live. At that time four in ten said they would be worse off under the law.
Those numbers are similar to a Gallup poll conducted just over a week ago, in which 36% of Americans said they didn't think that in the long run the Affordable Care Act would make much of a difference to their family's health care situation. Just over a third said the health care law would make matters worse, and one in four said that Obamacare would make things better.
Rollout of the exchange websites that are supposed to allow Americans without insurance to shop from a selection of plans side-by-side has been troubled, to say the least. The website has been plagued by glitches, crashes, and is currently the subject of a Congressional investigation.
Frustration with the law and the changes it causes in the health insurance landscape could be temporary growing pains as Americans get used to the reforms. But the frustration is likely to outlast problems with the website as Americans focus more on the cost of plans offered under Obamacare and on the choices available.
CNN reported Monday on notes from an Obama administration "war room" meeting where officials expressed concern that once Americans had access to more information about the plans available, they might experience sticker shock.
An architect of the Affordable Care Act, MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer recently that most Americans will benefit from the law as it stabilizes the insurance market, fosters competition and guarantees coverage for almost all Americans.
Most Americans get insurance from either the government or their employer and won't be affected much by the law, he said.
"About 5 to 6 percent get it on their and some of them will pay more, the young and health and not poor will pay more to get their health insurance. It's a lot of people, but its small relative to the people who are going to gain and very small relative to the people who aren't affected," added Gruber.
But he also ceded that there will be winners and losers as the law is implemented. Some people will pay more and be forced to change their insurance. That's a small percentage of the country, but a large number of people.
"Very very few people have to pay more and not get better insurance. That's a very small fraction," said Gruber. "Most of the people who will have to pay more will get better insurance than what they had before."
–CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Free Health Care. Free Lunch. Free Phones. Free cars. Free – what's next?
Oh, more Taxes.
Few things are as insulting to someone's intelligence then a complete stranger saying that they were ripped off by the terrible product they bought and have used for years (I'm talking about the new left talking point about "bad" insurance policies)
This must be another phoney scandal.
Those of you who like your policy can keep it
What he meant
Those of you whose policy we like can keep it
If you like your doctor you can keep them
What he meant
If we like your doctor you can keep them
Bill S – It's your altruistic duty to pay more so others can have Obamacare.
What's your problem? you obviously have the ability to pay more!
"From each according to their ability, to each according to theri need"
Redefining what a lie is. Classic.
For those who voted for Obama and are and or will loose their H/C no complaining....Because we told you so.
Lol.... how do you change a promise?? Is that a nice way of saying 'breaking a promise'?
This guy lies better than a rug!
I was wondering how they were going to spin this. They meaning Obama, his acolytes and the lickspittle fawning press. What a venal man. He reminds me of the pigs in Orwell's ANIMAL FARM.
"Very very few", "very very small"... Sounds like my 5th grade essay that had to fill up a page, so you pepper it with "very, very" all over the place.
Where's my $2,500?
My deductible went up $4,000. My plan was canceled and new plan isn't affordable like promised.
Anyone else feeling my pain?
America's President is a LIAR!!!!! Pelosi is a LIAR!!!! Reid is a LIAR!!!! Democrats do nothing by LIE, CHEAT and STEAL our hard earned money -= and now leave us with no healthcare!
If any other president pulled that, people would be throwing pitchforks through the white house windows.
Just the whole market correcting itself but in the end most people in the middle class will pay less, the companies have to get it while they can, while some in government stall the implementation of the program, showing their lack of respect to the legislation that they themselves passed, obstructing ACA in every manner possible while blaming the Obama admin, all smoke, just have to wait for it to clear
As usual, this only helps the poor and hurts the middle class, hard working people. I can barely survive as it is on my income, supporting ONE child, and paying off my student loans so I can afford a better life for my son. Now I am expected to pay for lazy, uneducated people who breed like rabbits. Try closing your legs, go to school and get a good job and support yourself. I've never heard of such ignorance. The same ignorant people who voted for this moron are the same people who have their hand out while dripping with diamonds and gold jewelry. Their children all have $200 sneakers. These are the same "poor" people who are at the theme parks while I cannot afford to go. You voted and created this idiot and we all pay the price.
If your plan is cancelled, that's your insurer's doing, not a requirement of the ACA. Those plans would otherwise be grandfathered in even if they don't meet the minimum coverage requirements set forth in the ACA. Again: If you can't keep your existing plan, that's a choice your insurer made, not a requirement of the ACA. Blame your insurer–they want more money from you.
This president is afraid to face the American public. Thats why he always has Kerry, Biden or Jay Carney deliver his preposterous messages to the public. America is in a stampede towards third-worldism and CNN refuses to tell the King He is naked. CNN constantly fortifies his ridiculous policies with a positive spin.
Lying POS knew EXACTLY what would happen and pushed his pet project through before his uneducated, enamored supporters could figure it out. How's it feel being a democrat now? Stupid, uneducated, jaded, foolish, gullible, etc., etc.......
I don't know of ANYONE who has not had a high increase in medical insurance, NOT A ONE!! So stating JUST A FEW is another LIE. My policy WAS high value 10/co-pay Zero deduct, but that was cancelled so now the insurance is 25/co-pay with a 5k deduct and for that pleasure, I can pay $500 more per month. Guess what? Can't afford it. Guess what? I'm not alone!! I see another bubble getting ready to burst. Watch all the new foreclosures!!! Time to buy a travel trailer, hit the road & get subsidized for everything, upper middle class life just isn't worth it anymore.
Holy Grammar Whatthehell! ...
""About 5 to 6 percent get it on their and some of them will pay more, the young and health and not poor will pay more to get their health insurance. It's a lot of people, but its small relative to the people who are going to gain and very small relative to the people who aren't affected," added Gruber."
Can someone tell me what this 'paragraph' actually says? In English, please?
"Most of the people who will have to pay more will get better insurance than what they had before."
That last line is telling. Father knows best and my options are diminished, not increased, because Father will not allow me to have less than Father declares to be best.
REJECT and REPEAL.
The law is based on a lie.
It's YOUR OWN FAULT
YOU took "Me" at "MY" word...
You MUST read ALL 2,800 pages of the fine print.
"I" am sure "I" TOLD you that....
I simply cannot stand the sight of his ARROGANT lying face, or the constant manipulation of the American people.