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Chief Obamacare architect: ‘If you want to keep your doctor, you can pay for it’

One of the key architects of Obamacare clashed with Fox’s Chris Wallace over the president’s promise that people won’t lose their doctor, saying that “If you want to keep your doctor, you can pay for it.”

Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House health adviser and the brother of Rahm Emanuel, disputed the Fox News Sunday host’s contention that President Obama was lying when he said consumers could keep their doctor under Obamacare:

WALLACE: President Obama famously promised if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Doesn’t that turn out to be just as false, just as misleading as his promise that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan? Isn’t it a fact, sir, that a number, most in fact, of the Obamacare health plans that are being offered on the exchanges exclude a number of doctors and hospitals at lower cost?

EMANUEL: The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to.

WALLACE: No, no. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that?

EMANUEL: He didn’t say you can have unlimited choice.

WALLACE: It’s a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?

EMANUEL: Yes, but look, if you want to pay more for an insurance that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places, you pay more for a wider range of choices or a wider range of benefits. The issue isn’t the selective networks. people keep saying “Oh, the problem is you’re going to have a selective network –

WALLACE: Well, if you lose your doctor or you lose your hospital –

EMANUEL: Let me just say something. People are going to have a choice as to whether they want to pay a certain amount for a selective network or more for a broader network –

WALLACE: Which would mean your premiums would probably go up.

EMANUEL: They get that choice. That’s the choice we always make –

WALLACE: Which means your premium may go up over what you were paying –

EMANUEL: No one guaranteed you that your premium wouldn’t increase! Premiums have been going up –

WALLACE: The president guaranteed me I could keep my doctor.

EMANUEL: And if you want to, you can pay for it.

WALLACE: Pay through the nose.

Emanuel concluded by claiming “choice is something we all understand, and we all understand that for more benefits, more choice, you have to pay more.” Some people — namely, opponents of the law who knew you can’t have more for less — may have understood this earlier than others.

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