Thank you, Mr. President.
Great to see you, Chuck.
Thanks to you. I’ll start with health care. It’s probably the most quoted thing or requoted thing you have said in your presidency, “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” You said it a lot during the run up. At this point, though, it’s obviously something– a promise that has not been able to be kept. Just today, the Denver Post — 250,000 people in Colorado are seeing health insurance policies cancelled. Some of those people liked those policies. And they can’t keep them. What happened?
Well– first of all, I meant what I said. And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn’t do enough– a good enough job– and I regret that. We’re talking about 5% of the population– who are in what’s called the individual market. They’re out there buying health insurance on their own.
A lot of these plans are subpar plans. And we put in a clause in the law that said if you had one of those plans, even if it was subpar– when the law was passed, you could keep it. But there’s enough churn in the market that folks since then have bought subpar plans. And now that may be all they can afford. So even though it only affects a small amount of the population, you know, it means a lot to them, obviously, when they get– this letter cancelled.
And– you know, I am deeply concerned about it. And I’ve assigned my team to see what we can do to close some of the holes and gaps in the law– because, you know, my intention is to lift up and make sure the insurance that people buy is effective. That it’s actually going to deliver what they think they’re purchasing. Because what we know is before the law was passed, a lot of these plans, people thought they had insurance coverage. And then they’d find out that they had huge out of pocket expenses. Or women were being charged more than men.
If you had preexisting conditions, you just couldn’t get it at all. And we are proud of the consumer protections we put into place. On the other hand, we also want to make sure that– nobody is put in a position where their plan’s been cancelled. They can’t afford a better plan, even though they’d like to have a better plan. And so we’re going to have to work hard– to make sure that those folks– are, you know, taken care of.
Do you feel like you owe these folks an apology for misleading them?
Even if you didn’t intentionally do it, but at this point, they feel misled. And you’ve seen the anger that’s out there.
You know– I regret very much that– what we intended to do, which is to make sure that everybody is moving into better plans because they want ’em, as opposed to because they’re forced into it. That, you know, we weren’t as clear as we needed to be– in terms of the changes that were taking place. And I want to do everything we can to make sure that people are finding themselves in a good position– a better position than they were before this law happened.
Keep in mind that most of the folks who are going to– who got these c– cancellation letters, they’ll be able to get better care at the same cost or cheaper in these new marketplaces. Because they’ll have more choice. They’ll have more competition. They’re part of a bigger pool. Insurance companies are going to be hungry for their business.
So– the majority of folks will end up being better off, of course, because the website’s not working right. They don’t necessarily know it right. But it– even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them. And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they– you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that– they know– we hear ’em and that we’re going to do everything we can– to deal with folks who find themselves– in a tough position as a consequence of this.
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