NBC News: White House Has Known For At Least 3 Years Millions Would Lose Coverage Due to ObamaCare

October 28th, 2013 7:52 PM

In his sales pitch for ObamaCare, the President regularly told Americans that if they liked their current health insurance policies, they could keep them.

A blockbuster report just published at NBCNews.com by Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye not only completely refutes this, but claims that the Administration has known for at least three years that millions would lose their coverage due to ObamaCare's implementation:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date -- the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example -- the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.


But there's more:

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today. [...]

A spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an insurance trade association, also said the 50 to 75 percent estimate was consistent with the range they are hearing.

So industry professionals are predicting as much as 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep the policies they currently have as a result of this law.

Which raises an important question: why hasn't anyone reported this before? Can you imagine how such a revelation might have impacted the 2012 elections?

That said, it remains to be seen how much coverage these revelations will get.

To be sure, as this is now the top headline at the Drudge Report, a lot of people will see this article. But how much coverage will this bombshell get from mainstream outlets.

For its part, the NBC Nightly News did mention Myers' report Monday during a segment about some people seeing their premiums going up as a result of ObamaCare. However, Myers wasn't brought on to discuss the specifics:

PETER ALEXANDER: That millions will lose or will have to change their individual policies is not a surprise to the administration. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 ObamaCare regulations language predicting a reasonable range for the number of individual policies that would terminate is 40 percent to 67 percent. Health policy expert Bob Laszewski says the new rules make it difficult to carry over an old plan with less comprehensive coverage.

BOB LASZEWSKI, HEALTH POLICY AND STRATEGY ASSOCIATES : The problem with ObamaCare and where we are at now is the Obama administration has decided to implement this in a really rigid way.

ALEXANDER: And White House officials insist they have always said insurance policies could change to offer more benefits and to emphasize the affordability. Tonight the administration says nearly half of all uninsured single young adults could get health coverage for $50 a month, Brian, or less.

As you can see, Alexander did mention that it's not a surprise to the adminstration that millions will lose or have to change their policies as a result of the law. But that lacked the teeth of Myers' major point that this means the White House for at least three years knew that this was the case and continued to operate as if it wasn't.

That's a rather large omission, and given the 25 seconds Alexander spent on Myers' report, it makes you wonder if NBC is interested in bringing a lot of light to this bombshell.

Will she be invited on Tuesday's Today show to share more details than Alexander did? Will other news outlets follow suit?

Or will this just be a great investigative report posted at a news organization's website with little mass exposure?

Stay tuned.