By Jonathan Easley - 10/30/13 11:44 AM EDT
President Obama’s claim that people could keep their old health plans under ObamaCare is dominating questioning at Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusLeaked email: Podesta pushed Tom Steyer for Obama’s Cabinet Romney: Trump victory 'very possible' Fighting for assisted living facilities MORE’s committee hearing.
The White House has struggled to defend President Obama’s 2009 claim as thousands of people receive notifications that their insurance companies are dropping their plans.
“Yes he is,” the Health and Human Services secretary responded.
She repeated the administration’s argument that, if people are losing their plans, it is because of insurance companies and not the new healthcare law.
“If a person had a policy in place in March 2010, liked that plan, and the insurance company made no changes to disadvantage the consumer, those policies are in place, you keep your plan if you like it, and that goes on,” Sebelius told the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
“People though who had a medically underwritten policy, were paying more than their neighbor because they happen to be female … they will have a new day in a very competitive market,” she added.
Many insurers have stopped offering plans that do not comply with regulations issued by the Health and Human Services Department outlining basic levels of coverage. Consumers who have received such notices are often left with more expensive options.
Republicans say this flies in the face of Obama’s 2009 promise that “If you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan” under the new law.
More recently, Obama said that if someone already had health insurance, “you will keep your health insurance.”
The administration has argued that those who lose their plans would be eligible for new ones with better coverage. Poorer people can also get subsidies to help pay for the plans.