White House website at odds with latest Obama statement

Millions of health insurance plans have been cancelled after ObamaCare went into effect, and President Obama backed away Monday from his previous oft-repeated statement that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

But he may want to glance at his own website, WhiteHouse.gov, which still states: "For Americans with insurance coverage who like what they have, they can keep it. Nothing in this act or anywhere in the bill forces anyone to change the insurance they have, period."

That appears in a section of the WhiteHouse.gov website labeled "health reform details." The exact same language also appears in the Department of Health and Human Services' online description of the law.

But that web description is very different from what Obama said Monday to top backers of Organizing for Action, his permanent campaign arm.

“What we said was, ‘You could keep it [your plan] if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed,’” Obama said.

Critics say the conflicting language is dishonest.

More On This...

    “Even though millions of Americans are getting cancellation notices in the mail because of the President’s health care law, the White House website still promises that Americans can keep the care they like," Senator John Barrasso, R-Wyo., who is also an orthopedic surgeon, said in a statement to FoxNews.com.

    "If the President was being honest, he would finally tell the American people that his law won’t allow them to keep their coverage, premiums won’t be cheaper than a cell phone bill, and the website won’t be as easy to use as Amazon. It’s time for the White House to tell the truth – instead of doubling down on dishonesty,” Barrasso added.

    A Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman said on Monday that she would check on the issue, but did not comment as of Tuesday.

    White House spokesman Eric Schultz, reached by FoxNews.com, did not say whether the administration stood by the website's wording, but he instead referred to statements by spokesman Jay Carney from Tuesday.

    Carney, in his remarks Tuesday, defended all the President’s statements.

    "Look, the [grandfathering] provision within the Affordable Care Act was the manifestation of the President’s promise that if you had a plan that you liked, you could keep it,” Carney said, before putting the blame on insurers.

    "If you had a plan and your insurance company didn’t cancel it, you could keep it," Carney said.

    However, the insurance company cancellations were largely due to a rule issued by the Department of Health and Human services which disqualified plans that have changed at all since the law passed from being “grandfathered” in and exempted from the regulations.

    “When the rule was issued, Secretary Sebelius and others spoke to the press about it, specifically about the fact that… if insurance companies changed their plans or canceled their plans, they would give up the opportunity to grandfather those plans in,” Carney said.

    Yet critics point out that the website reads: “Nothing in this act or anywhere in the bill forces anyone to change the insurance they have, period.”

    A Republican Senate health policy staffer told FoxNews.com he thought the wording on the website was inaccurate and surprising.

    "It does surprise me, because the Obama team owes their success in no small part to social media and web savvy. And they know that any narrative is subject to a quick check via Google."

    The staffer added, "the President's defenders will say he was just trying to simplify a complicated public policy into terms that people can understand... But I think there's a difference between trying to simplify things and fundamentally changing the meaning."

    Most Americans are happy with their existing plans, he noted.

    "Polls have repeatedly shown that 85% of Americans who have coverage are satisfied with it," he said. Two Quinnipiac polls from 2009, before ObamaCare passed, put the number at between 85 and 88%.

    Some in Congress say they're trying to do something to help people keep their plans.

    "Millions of Americans are slated to lose the individual health insurance they already like and own," Re. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told FoxNews.com.

    "I recently joined Congressman Ron DeSantis to introduce the 'If You Like Your Health Care Plan You Can Keep It Act of 2013' to make good on the President’s promise," he added.

    Asked on Tuesday whether such a plan would be considered by the President, Jay Carney did not answer directly.

    Asked whether the President would take back his "if you like your health plan, you can keep it" comments from the past if he could, Carney replied:

    "Well, the President, as awesomely powerful as the office is, can't go back in time.  And what the President is focused on is what we're all focused on, which is getting this right for the American people and getting it right for everyone."

    The author of this piece, Maxim Lott, can be reached on twitter at @maximlott or at maxim.lott@foxnews.com