Would President Obama support or veto legislation – with bipartisan backing – that would essentially keep his now-discredited vow that anyone who likes their insurance can keep it? White House press secretary Jay Carney didn’t provide a clear answer.
But Carney stressed that keeping the standards for the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, would undermine the goal of the law.
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) sponsored separate bills to allow people to keep their current health care insurance, as millions are expected to lose their insurance because of the law despite repeated promises otherwise from Obama both before and after the laws passage.
According to the non-partisan PolitiFact website, Obama administration officials made this assertion 37 times and never offered caveats. The Washington Post website also said the administration claims were not true.
“If we say that every insurance plan that doesn’t meet the Affordable Care Act standards can continue in perpetuity, you’re essentially saying there are no standards to be met,” Carney told reporters Thursday.
“It is certainly the belief of the drafters of the law and the president that one of the purposes here is to set some minimum standards for coverage so that every American who gets insurance coverage has some security and certainty about the benefits they’re going to receive and you don’t have – which happens all too frequently for some individuals – the rude awakening that when you get a bill, and find out that the plan you had that you thought would cover your costs upon further inspection does not,” he added.
Pressed on whether the president would veto such legislation, Carney said he had not read the bill.
“You have loosely described a proposal that I haven’t read and I’m not sure is on paper,” Carney responded. “So, for me to issue a statement on administration policy about it, I think would be getting a little ahead of myself.”
The Upton House bill is called the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” and ha 88 co-sponsors.
“Despite the president’s repeated promise of ‘if you like your plan, you can keep it,’ many Americans are now learning the sad reality that their current plan will no longer exist beginning on January 1,” Upton said in a statement announcing the bill. “Instead they are forced to purchase health care that they cannot afford through a system that does not even work, and that’s just not fair,” said Chairman Upton. “This legislation is about providing folks the peace of mind that they will be allowed to keep their current coverage if they so choose.”
Landrieu, facing reelection in a red state next year, introduced the “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act” on Nov. 4.
“A promise was made and this legislation will ensure that this promise is kept. For many consumers, plans in the Marketplaces may offer superior coverage at a good value that saves them money. But people should be able to keep their plans if they want to,” Landrieu said in a statement. “I have said repeatedly that the Affordable Care Act isn’t perfect, and I am willing to work with anyone who wants to improve it and implement it correctly.”