White House press secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday said President Obama's claim that all Americans could keep their health insurance plans under the new health law deserved a “fuller explanation,” acknowledging millions of consumers would not keep their current coverage.
After the passage of Obamacare, the president has repeatedly insisted that if any individual likes their health care plan, they could “keep it.”
Carney on Tuesday added a crucial caveat to that promise, saying Americans could keep their insurance if the plan is “still available.”
In other words, if the plan is modified, coverage options that don’t meet Obamacare standards could be canceled.
Still, Carney accused Republicans of distorting the impact of the cryptic administrative ruling.
“What we’re talking about here is the 5 percent in the country who currently purchase insurance on the individual market,” he said. “And that market has been like the Wild West.”
“You would think we were talking about 75 percent of the population,” he added.
NBC News reported Monday that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million people who purchase individual health insurance could receive a cancellation letter under the new law.
Carney argued that the dustup over Obama's “You can keep it” promise has no impact on those who receive health insurance from their employer or those covered by Medicaid.
Obama offered no such language on the campaign trail while shaking off charges that his signature domestic achievement could force some Americans to get new health plans.
And Republicans were unmoved by Carney’s arguments.
“Just to be clear, Jay Carney is dancing around the fact that millions will indeed lose their insurance plan, and they knew it,” Rory Cooper, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on Twitter.
When asked whether the president misled the public, Carney gave a simple answer: “No.”