Bill Clinton to Barack Obama: Let Americans keep their health plans

Just days before the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Keep Your Health Plan Act, Bill Clinton is urging President Barack Obama to get behind a change that would keep the promise he made to Americans.

Clinton insists that Obamacare is better off now than before, which is a line that the White House touted yesterday. He also defended the issues with federal exchange website, Healthcare.gov, comparing it to the launch of Medicare Part D in 2006, though this defense doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

But Clinton touched on the insurance cancellations of that millions of Americans are experiencing, using a conversation he had with a young person who is paying more for coverage than before Obamacare as an example.

Third problem is for young people — most, but not all young — who are in the individual market hose incomes are above 400% of the poverty level. They were the ones who heard the promise — if you like what you have you can keep it,” former President Clinton, a Democrat who served from 1993 to 2001, told OZY.com.

“I met a young man this week who has a family, two children, bought in the individual marketplace. His policy was cancelled and one was substituted for it, and it doubled his premium,” he recalled. “Now, I asked him, I said, Same coverage? He said yeah. But I asked, are your co-pays and deductibles the same? He said they were much, much lower.”

“So he said in the years when I use health care, I might actually save money. But he said, you know, we’re all young and we’re all healthy,” Clinton said. “So I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

Both before and after the passage of the healthcare law, President Obama insisted and promised, on at least 36 separate occasions, that Americans could keep their health plan. Thanks to strictly written “grandfathered plan” regulationsmillions of Americans have lost or will lose their health plan.

The comments, despite his overall support of Obamacare, are interesting, not just because Clinton is urging President Obama to make a change the law, something that has been considered anathema to this administration, save the delays and changes that they support.

Clinton also undermined a central principle of the law, whether he realized it or not, by using this example. Obamacare is supposed to make young people pay more for coverage in order to subsidize or otherwise offset the costs of sick and unhealthy Americans who also purchased coverage on the exchanges.

The administration had find a strict mechanism to force people off their plans, via the aforementioned “grandfathered plan” regulations, in order to get them to purchase the government-approved plans through the exchanges, thereby putting more people in the pool to balance risk. Without this and the individual mandate, the math the law simply wouldn’t work as intended.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday that President Obama agrees with Clinton, citing comments he made last week during an interview NBC News. Carney didn’t offer any details about what the administration intends to do or when it will happen.

The House will hold a vote on the Keep Your Health Plan Act at some point on Friday. They’ve urged the White House to back the measure.


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