Millions lose health coverage, White House blames insurance companies

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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On Tuesday, the White House finally came up with a strategy to explain why millions of Americans are losing their health insurance plans — blame the insurance companies.

White House spokesman Jay Carney rewrote President Barack Obama’s much-repeated “you can keep it” promise Tuesday afternoon, and began blaming health insurance companies for canceling millions of individuals’ insurance plans.

“If you had a plan… and you liked it, and you’ve kept it, you can keep if forever as long as your insurer offers it,” Carney told reporters during the daily press briefing.

In the last few weeks, insurance companies have already canceled more than 2 million individual plans, as a direct result of Obamacare. The canceled plans were bought by individuals directly, rather than via employers or associations, and do not include coverage demanded by Obama and his deputies.

The two millions cancellations — so far — contradict Obama’s repeated public promises that Americans could keep their insurance plans after Obamacare is enacted.

“We will keep this promise to the American people… if you like your health-care plan, you will be able to keep your health-care plan, period,” Obama said June 23, 2009.

“If you’re one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance,” he said in 2012.

The government-induced cancellations are frightening million of Americans who are facing increased prices, and the practical difficulty of getting replacement insurance via the crippled Obamacare website.

So White House officials are using health-industry executives as their scapegoats.

“FACT: Nothing in #Obamacare forces people out of their health plans. No change is required unless insurance companies change existing plans,” said an Oct. 28 tweet from Obama’s closest aide, Valerie Jarrett.

“The insurer is making the decision to cancel the plan, and to reissue or offer the individual a new plan with different benefits and new costs,” Carney said.

So far, these tactics are successfully muffling establishment-media coverage of Obama’s deception. Most reporters at the White House press briefing quietly accepted Carney’s blame-shifting without laughing or clamoring for clarity, and few media outlets highlighted the Oct. 28 revelations showing that officials knew millions of plans would be canceled.

In the media briefing, Carney also insisted that Obamacare regulators — who have enormous power over companies — could not stop companies from ending the plans. “The law could not order insurers not to cancel that plan,” he said.

Throughout the conference, Carney also downplayed the number of Americans who are losing their insurance.

Numerous experts say the number of people who will lose their insurance in the next year is roughly 7 million. Others estimate 12 million people will lose their insurance plans, despite Obama’s promise.

People who buy individual plans comprise only 5 percent of the market, Carney said numerous times. In contrast, 15 percent of people have no insurance and 80 percent get insurance from companies or health care from the the government, he said.

A reporter asked him twice to say how many Americans were part of the 5 percent, but Carney refused to put a number on the record. “What’s the size of the American population now?” he asked. “I would consult Wikipedia for the size of the population,” he quipped.

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