A spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said President Obama showed “contempt for the American people” by delivering “deceptive” remarks at a healthcare summit on Monday night.
Brendan Buck, Boehner's press secretary, sent an email to reporters mocking the president's famous ObamaCare promise that, “if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it,” which he said has now shifted.
“If you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.”
"When did you say that?" Buck asked. "Can you show us one example of when you said that? Just one. No, you can’t."
Some insurance companies have also announced they would not continue to offer existing plans, saying that it is too administratively burdensome to manage plans that do not satisfy basic coverage requirements mandated by ObamaCare. Instead, they've offered consumers more expensive plans that include increased benefits.
Republicans have seized on that discrepancy and say the president misled the American public to sell ObamaCare.
On Tuesday, Buck said that the president's added caveat — without acknowledging that his prior comments could be deceiving — amounted to "contempt."
"What kind of leader, caught in blatant deception, responds by inventing another one?" Buck said. "How much contempt for the American people must one have to keep brazenly misleading them?"
"Just stop. Stop," Buck continued. "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 has defended the president's comments, noting that individuals who privately purchased insurance before the passage of the Affordable Care Act who have maintained their policies are in fact able to keep their plans — even if they fail to match the basic requirements for policies under ObamaCare.
"If the President didn't intend to keep that promise, why would he have gone out of his way to make sure that there was a provision in the law designed to keep the promise, which was the grandfathering-in clause?" said White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday.
Carney said only a small slice of the population purchased their own insurance — rather than receiving it through their work or federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid — and that those consumers were accustomed to "upheavals in the market." Before the implementation of ObamaCare, only a small percentage of private insurance buyers kept the same plan from year to year.
The White House spokesman also said that a majority of the group who lose their plans would "get better coverage at the same or less cost than they have today."
"That's important," Carney said. "That is delivering on one of the promises of the Affordable Care Act."