Top Dem Hoyer: Obama Should Have Been ‘More Precise’ About Insurance Promise

AP

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Tuesday that President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats should have been “more precise” when they promised Americans could keep their health insurance if they so wanted before the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans are accusing Obama of breaking the promise, that “if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it,” after reports emerged that insurers were sending cancellation notices for stripped down individual market plans that didn’t meet minimum ACA benefit requirements.

“We knew that in requiring the individual market, some five percent of the market, requiring certain minimum standards … what we said in the legislation is look, you’ve got to have minimal coverage so you meet that responsibility,” Hoyer told reporters Tuesday, as quoted by BuzzFeed. “To that extent we knew there were policies that would not meet that, particularly in the individual market.

“We knew there would be some policies that would not qualify and therefore people would be required more extensive coverage, and of course that coverage is available in the exchange,” he added.

Hoyer said that the promise, repeated by the Maryland Democrat himself, was incomplete.

“I don’t think the message was wrong, I think the message was accurate,” he said. “It was not precise enough [and] should have been caveated; assuming you have a policy that in fact does do what the bill is designed to do.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday pushed back against the notion, pushed by Republicans, that President Obama mislead the American people, arguing instead that consumers who were on a plan when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law and haven’t since been dropped or removed from it by insurance providers “can keep that plan if they so choose.”

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Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at igor@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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