Fact-Checker blasts Obama pledge that people can keep current health care plans

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, Glenn Kessler, gave President Obama’s promise that Americans would be able to keep their current health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act four 'Pinocchio’s' – the highest rating in the newspaper’s system.

“The president’s pledge that 'if you like your insurance, you will keep it' is one of the most memorable of his presidency,” Kessler writes. “It was also an extraordinarily bold — and possibly foolish — pledge, unless he thought he simply could dictate exactly how the insurance industry must work.”

The paper says the Obama administration repeatedly made promises while the bill was being drafted, but then kept repeating them after the bill was signed into law – and after they knew they would be almost impossible to keep.

“By that point, there should have been no question about the potential impact of the law on insurance plans, especially in the individual market,” Kessler said.

A key part of ObamaCare is forcing insurers to offer an “essential health benefits” package, providing coverage in 10 categories, including prescription drugs, chronic disease management and pediatric services.

However, in 2011 the Department of Health and Human Services noted that 62 percent of enrollees don’t have coverage for maternity services, 18 percent don’t have coverage for mental health services and another 9 percent failed to provide coverage for prescription drugs – all of which are needed under ObamaCare.

While the law allows some grandfathered plans for people who obtained their insurance before the ACA was signed into law in 2010, there is language tucked into it that seems to strip away “grandfathered” status.

“The regulations written by HHS while implementing the law set some tough guidelines, so that if an insurance company makes changes to a plan’s benefits or how much members pay through premiums, copays or deductibles, then a person’s plan likely loses the status,” Kessler writes.