November 05, 2013, 02:07 pm
White House sends SOS to insurers
By Justin Sink
The White House on Tuesday asked health insurers for help in quelling the growing furor over the cancellation of insurance plans under ObamaCare.
In a meeting at the White House, Obama's chief of staff Denis McDonough asked insurance executives to explain to customers who are losing their plans what new options are available under ObamaCare and what new subsidies they might qualify for.
“He emphasized the need for all involved in the marketplaces, including the administration, issuers and other stakeholders, both federal and private, to ramp up communication and education efforts to consumers who have received or might receive letters about their individual market plans changing," White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
Millions of Americans have received letters saying that they cannot keep their current health insurance because of the law.
Some of the letters tell people they need to purchase more expensive, more comprehensive plans to replace them, sometimes without mentioning the new ObamaCare plans that are now available to them.
Republicans have seized on the cancellations to argue that the president had deceived Americans with his promise that, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it.”
On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) called Obama’s promise “deceptive."
"Just stop. Stop," Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said. "Stop and admit you sold this health law on a central promise that is flat-out untrue. Have enough respect for the people who elected you to be honest. No one is being fooled anymore."
The White House is looking to fight back by saying that many of those who receive cancellation notices would get better coverage for the same price or cheaper on the ObamaCare exchanges. And now, they're looking to recruit insurance companies to help explain that to consumers upset over seeing their plans canceled.
"Obviously for insurers, it's in their interest to make it clear to their customers that they have offerings for them that meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act, and also that they may be eligible for credits," Carney said.
Carney sidestepped questions about whether the president would support legislation being drafted on Capitol Hill that would allow individuals to keep their plans, even if they had been purchased since the passage of the law, or those plans had been downgraded in recent months.
"I haven't reviewed or seen an examination internally of any ideas people have put out on legislation, so I don't have a response to a specific, proposed piece of legislation," Carney said.
During the meeting with insurance companies, McDonough also discussed technical issues with the ObamaCare enrollments and efforts by the administration to fix the glitches that have plagued the process.
According to Carney, McDonough asked for input on how the improvements have affected "their enrollment experiences on the ground," while reiterating "the administration's commitment to finalizing these fixes as quickly as possible."