Obama’s You-Can-Keep-It-Pledge ‘Wasn’t Even True Before’ the Law Passed

By Penny Starr | November 25, 2013 | 11:28am EST

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) – A critic of the U.S. health care system says President Barack Obama’s promise to Americans that “if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it” was never a true statement.

“He shouldn't have said that, even before proposing the Affordable Care Act,” David Goldhill told National Public Radio on Saturday.  “It wasn't even true before the act, right?”

Goldhill, the president and CEO of Game Show Network, is author of the recently released book,  “Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know About Health Care is Wrong.” The book comes six years after Goldhill says his father died from careless mistakes following surgery in 2007.

“Should the president have said if you like your medical plan, if you like your doctor, keep him?” Simon asked Goldhill during NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday.

“Well, he shouldn't have said that, even before proposing the Affordable Care Act,” Goldhill said. “It wasn't even true before the act, right?”

“We were already seeing massive disruption in the health insurance industry,” said Goldhill a self-described liberal Democrat. “And as long as health care gets more expensive without the normal breaks on price and quality and value that we see in everything else, you will not be able to keep your health insurance plan. It will be endlessly changing to compensate for expense and demand and all the rest,” Goldhill said. “So, it was a false statement even without the Affordable Care Act.

“I actually think the president should have said if you are happy with your health insurance plan, you don't know what it costs -- and that would have been an honest statement that I think would have gotten the discussion on a completely different track.”

On April 1, 2010, a week after he signed the Affordable Care Act, President Obama repeated the pledge he frequently made during the national debate over the bill, telling an audience in Portland, Maine: "If Americans like their doctor, they will keep their doctor.  And if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it.  No one will be able to take that away from you.  It hasn’t happened yet.  It won’t happen in the future."

The president continued saying the same thing until early November, when many Americans iin the individual insurance market started getting policy cancellation notices.

On Nov. 4, 2013, President Obama amended his promise, saying, “If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really liked that plan, what we said was you can keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law passed."

A few days later, on Nov. 7, Obama told NBC’s Chuck Todd that he is “sorry” people are finding themselves with cancelled insurance policies – “based on assurances they got from me.”

“Obviously we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law," Obama told NBC. "And, you know, that’s something I regret. That’s something we’re going do everything we can to get fixed ... We’re looking at a range of options.”

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