House Republicans are pushing a new bill to let Americans keep their health insurance plans following revelations that the Obama administration knew millions could lose their current coverage due to changes from the Affordable Care Act.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., was introducing the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” in a bid to address widespread reports of people losing their current plans. CBS News reported Monday that more than 2 million Americans have already been told they can’t renew their policies.
“This legislation is about providing folks the peace of mind that they will be allowed to keep their current coverage if they so choose,” Upton said in a statement. The bill would allow plans sold on the market today to continue to be available.
Fox News confirmed on Monday that despite assurances from President Obama that anybody who likes their health insurance can keep it, a 2010 IRS document predicted a huge swath of customers could lose their coverage.
The document addressed a rule in the law that states individual policies purchased on or before March 23, 2010 would be “grandfathered” — or exempt from changes required under ObamaCare. However, the provision was changed so that plans that undergo “significant changes” could lose that special status.
The IRS document estimated that “40 percent to 67 percent” of policies would in fact lose the status, meaning customers could be kicked off those plans because they don’t meet minimum coverage requirements. The document was earlier reported by NBC News.
The Obama administration argues that for those being kicked off their plans, they mostly will be offered policies with stronger consumer protections.
“It’s true that there are existing health care plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and, therefore, do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “But what is also true is that … Americans who have insurance on the existing individual market will now have numerous options available to them.”
But Republicans argue this flies in the face of Obama’s repeated claims that people would not lose their current coverage.
Conservative commentator Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, called the claim a “lie” by the administration, during Fox News’ “The Kelly File.”
“The smoking gun is there in your hand,” he said, referring to host Megyn Kelly’s copy of the IRS form. “Look, they knew.”
White House spokeswoman Jessica Santillo said in a statement that those getting notices are in plans “that do not provide all these protections.”
“But in the vast majority of cases, those same insurers will automatically shift their enrollees to a plan that provides new consumer protections and, for nearly half of individual market enrollees, discounts through premium tax credits,” she said.
She still claimed, though, that “Nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their health plans: the law allows plans that covered people at the time the law was enacted to continue to offer that same coverage to the same enrollees – nothing has changed and that coverage can continue into 2014.”