The President repeatedly said, “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” This assurance meant that if an individual or family had insurance on their own, through their employer, or from the government, they wouldn’t be forced to change those health care arrangements, including things like seeing the doctor you like, designating which hospitals you can visit, and paying for the services you need at the price that is most affordable.
The goal was for the uninsured or people who didn’t like their current plan to switch into the new exchanges and choose a federally approved plan. From the more limited Bronze plan to the comprehensive Platinum plan, people could choose to enroll in the exchanges. The President promised that no one would be forced to enter the exchanges, and included a “grandfather clause” into the bill to protect existing plans that people were happy with.
Millions of Americans lost their health insurance, despite the President’s promise. This is because the grandfather clause was written so loosely that any change to a deductible, co-pay, or premium makes it ineligible. While the administration acts surprised that this is taking place, a 2010 report clearly shows the President knew between 40% – 67% of plans could be canceled.
Serious backlash escalated despite the administration’s attempt to rationalize these losses by saying “it’s a small percentage of the population” or that “these are substandard plans.” Tell that to Edie Sundby whose “bad apple policy” got her the cancer treatment with the doctors she wanted. Millions of Americans felt cheated and deceived.
Where do we go from here?
The President and Congress have crafted proposals over the years to fix the law, but none have been implemented. Meanwhile, costs continue to rise and Americans are still unhappy with the Affordable Care Act.