President Obama said in an interview with NBC News today that he is sorry some Americans have lost their existing health coverage due to the Affordable Care Act rollout. "I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," he told Chuck Todd. "We've got to work hard to make sure they know we hear them."
In describing the Affordable Care Act before the law's open enrollment date began this year, the president said numerous times, in televised speeches and at rallies, that "if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan." In recent weeks, however, many Americans have begun receiving notices that their insurance policies are being cancelled.
[The Affordable Care Act] mandated that insurance coverage must meet certain standards and that policies that fell short could no longer be sold except through a grandfathering process, meaning some policies were always expected to disappear.
The White House says under those guidelines, fewer than 5 percent of Americans will have to change their coverage. But in a nation of more than 300 million people, 5 percent is about 15 million people.
In his NBC interview, President Obama said that his administration had not intentionally misled Americans and that most people who have their plans cancelled due to higher standards would be able to find better, cheaper insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. (Here, the Washington Post explains that eliminating health plans deemed inadequate by the White House is a feature, not a defect, of the A.C.A.)
"[T]hey're benefiting from more choice and competition," he said. "But obviously, we didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. And, you know, that's something that I regret. That's something that we're going to do everything we can to get fixed."
[There was a video here]
[Image via AP]