The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller
President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts Oct. 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder) President Barack Obama speaks about the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, at Faneuil Hall in Boston, Massachusetts Oct. 30, 2013. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)  

Expert: At least 129 million will ‘not be able to keep’ health care plan if Obamacare fully implemented

If Obamacare is fully implemented, 68 percent of Americans with private health insurance will not be able to keep their plan, according to health care economist Christopher Conover.

Conover is a research scholar in the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research at Duke University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. In an interview with The Daily Caller, he laid out what he estimates the consequences of Obamacare’s implementation will ultimately be.

“Bottom line: of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance coverage, I estimate that if Obamacare is fully implemented, at least 129 million (68 percent) will not be able to keep their previous health care plan either because they already have lost or will lose that coverage by the end of 2014,” he said in an email. ”But of these, ‘only’ the 18 to 50 million will literally lose coverage, i.e., have their plans entirely taken away. This includes 9.2-15.4 million in the non-group market and 9-35 million in the employer-based market. The rest will retain their old plans but have to pay higher rates for Obamacare-mandated bells and whistles.”

Conover also says it is hard to imagine President Obama didn’t know these statistics when he was flacking for his health care bill by promising Americans they could keep their health insurance if they liked it.

“If President Obama himself believed this the first time he said it, he was poorly advised,” Conover said.

“The problem is that he said it at least 24 times, most of which occurred after his own rule-writers had estimated that 49-80 percent of small employer plans would have lost their grandfather status by 2013, along with 34-64 percent of large employer plans. The same rule estimated that each year 40 to 67 percent of non-group plans not already grandfathered would lose their grandfather status. Given how extensively presidential statements — especially to a joint session of Congress — are vetted and fact-checked, it is pretty inconceivable that President Obama was not aware that he was engaged in some degree of truth-twisting.”

See TheDC’s full interview with Conover below:

Some current and former Obama administration officials are now admitting that the president’s “if you like your health insurance, you can keep it” promise is not technically true. But, they argue, it is only not true for a very small percentage of those insured. Do you agree with that assessment?

Absolutely not. Technically, every single health plan in the country already has been subject to at least some new Obamacare requirements. That is, even “grandfathered” plans and self-insured plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual limits and to cover dependents up to age 26 on their parent’s plan. Each of these “improvements” in coverage costs money, just as every feature you add to your car costs money (anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive). For instance, an Aon Hewitt survey of insurers showed that expanding dependent coverage to age 26 could increase premiums by 1 percent for some in the large group market, 2 percent in the small group market and up to 3.5 percent in the non-group market.

So strictly speaking, NO ONE who was entirely satisfied with their pre-Obamacare coverage has been able to keep it. But the degree of new restrictions/added costs is a continuum, with the added requirements/costs imposed in the following order (starting with plans facing the least added restrictions):

· Grandfathered plans (in theory, any plan in the large group, small group and non-group market can be grandfathered, but the restrictions are so tight that eventually every plan is expected to lose grandfather status)

· Self-insured plans (most of these are large employers with at least 100 workers)

· Large employer plans that are not self-insured (for now, small group only includes those under 50 workers, but this will grow to under 100 workers by 2016 and states have option to expand the definition further in future years)

· Non-group plans (inside and outside Exchanges)

· Small group plans (inside and outside Exchanges)

Thus, the degree to which you are dissatisfied with the new restrictions imposed by Obamacare or adversely affected by higher premiums depends heavily on what type of coverage you currently have.