NBC News on Monday claimed to have uncovered evidence that President Obama knew all along that his promise that "you can keep your health plan" under ObamaCare wasn't true. The story came out just as millions across the country are getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies.
"Buried in ObamaCare regulations from July 2010," NBC said, is an estimate that shows "the administration knew that more than 40% to 67% of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.
Although ObamaCare included a provision meant to grandfather health plans sold before 2010, regulators defined what "grandfathered" meant so narrowly that most plans wouldn't qualify.
Yet Obama went on repeating this promise, saying, as he did in June 2012, that "if you're one of the 250 million Americans who already (has) health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.
That the administration knew this wasn't true is troubling.
But the mainstream press also knew — or should have known — that Obama's "you can keep your plan" promise was phony. It just didn't bother to report on it at the time.
As far back as early 2010, health reform experts, Republican lawmakers and conservative policy analysts had been citing the same 40% to 67% figure that NBC News claims to have unearthed: The Commonwealth Fund, a favorite source for health care reporters, pointed out in a June 22, 2010, blog post that the administration "estimated that between 40% and 67% of health plans will relinquish grandfathered status" by 2013, meaning that millions of plans would get canceled.
An October 2010 article in the widely read Health Affairs said that, in addition to those losses, "the Obama administration has projected that between 39% and 69% of employer group plans" and "up to 80%" of small business plans would be canceled.
On Sept. 22, 2010, Sen. Mike Enzi , R-Wyo., said forcing 80% of small firms to change plans "breaks the president's promise" about keeping your health plan.
In May 2011, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that 51% of employers said they would have to drop plans and buy new ones because of ObamaCare.
An Aug. 29, 2011, memo by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor noted that "by the administration's own estimates, 40% to 67% of individual insurance plans" will be canceled.
In a December 2011 paper, the Galen Institute's Grace-Marie Turner noted that "millions of people are losing the coverage they have now, and tens of millions more will surely follow.
(IBD also covered this extensively at the time.) In addition, the Congressional Budget Office had reported in March 2010 that ObamaCare could cause 4 million to lose their employer-provided health insurance. It later raised that to 7 million, and admitted the number could be 20 million.
And years ago, Republicans like Enzi and Cantor pushed ObamaCare changes that would have prevented the massive cancellations going on today.
But with a few rare exceptions, the mainstream press completely ignored evidence that millions would be forced to drop their current insurance.
Now news reports are rife with stories of angry families getting insurance cancellation notices, learning that ObamaCare-approved plans will cost far more, and wondering why they didn't know this was coming.
On Monday, Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., introduced a bill aimed at preventing these cancellations. The one-page bill, "The Keep Your Health Plan Act," states simply that any health plan sold this year to the individual can also be sold next year.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., has a similar bill in the Senate.
The question is whether Senate Democrats will block this bill — as they have almost every other GOP-sponsored ObamaCare bill — in the face of rising public anger about Obama's misleading and now broken promise.