- (Photo: Reuters/Larry Downing)
The Affordable Care Act, also known as "Obamacare," was supposed to lower healthcare costs and reduce the national deficit without causing anyone to lose their insurance or their doctor. It was also not supposed to subsidize abortions. These promises have not been kept.
1. It will save you money.
The typical family will save about $2,500 per year in health insurance premiums due to the ACA, Obama claimed.
"I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year," he said on June 23, 2007, while running for president.
Recently, though, the administration is backing off the claim that premiums will decrease at all. In recent testimony before Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius claimed that premiums will not increase as much as they did in the years prior to the ACA's implementation.
Sebelius' statement is "pretty shortsighted because I think everybody knows that the way the exchange has rolled out … is going to lead to higher costs," an unnamed senior insurance executive told The Hill last month.
Other insurance company officials said that premiums will likely double in some states. And another anonymous official said his company's rates on the healthcare exchange will likely triple next year.
These rate increases will be announced in the spring as insurance companies file those rates with state regulators.
2. It will lower the debt.
Using a Congressional Budget Office report, Obama claimed that the ACA would reduce federal budget deficits by $138 billion.
The CBO report was denounced by Republicans who claimed that the CBO was double counting cuts to Medicaid. An independent actuary hired by HHS in 2011 wrote a report that agreed with that Republican argument.
The Obama administration has continued to tout the CBO's 2009 numbers, even though the administration has abandoned or delayed many of the cost-saving measures in the law. Much of the CBO's cost savings, $86 billion worth, were supposed to come from the CLASS Act, a long-term care program. But Sebelius decided to nix that program in 2011 after announcing it was unworkable.
3. It will not subsidize abortions.
To pass the ACA, Obama needed the support of pro-life Democrats. So a deal was struck. Obama would sign an executive order prohibiting abortion funding in the law and in return the pro-life Democrats would vote for the bill.
Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) led six other pro-life Democrats into negotiating the compromise with Obama. In September 2012, however, at a pro-life panel during the Democratic National Convention, Stupak said Obama had not lived up to his promise.
In particular, Stupak complained that the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate requiring all employers to cover "emergency" contraception or "morning after pills," was not consistent with the agreement he had with the president.
"I am perplexed and disappointed that, having negotiated the executive order with the president, not only does the HHS mandate violate the executive order but it also violates statutory law," he said.
Emergency contraceptives are not intended to be an abortifacient. The drugs prevent ovulation if taken after having sex and before ovulation occurs. What happens, though, if the drug is taken after ovulation? For many pro-lifers, there is not enough evidence to support the claim that these drugs will never be an abortifacient. Regardless of these objections, the Obama administration requires coverage of the drugs from most employers, even those who feel it violates their religious convictions, including some religious groups, such as sectarian schools and hospitals.
In addition to the birth control mandate controversy, pro-lifers object to coverage of abortion in insurance plans on the ACA exchanges. In the law, insurers are required to maintain separate funds so that government subsidies are not used to pay for abortion coverage. Many objections remain, however, to how abortion services are covered in the plans on the exchange.
The exchanges are required to have at least one option by 2017 that does not cover abortions. This means, of course, that there could be no options until then. Plus, customers are not able to opt-out of the abortion coverage if they find a plan they like but do not want to subsidize abortion.
4. If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.
Politifact's "Lie of the Year" for 2013 is the most well-known of Obama's broken "Obamacare" promises.
"If you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it," Obama said repeatedly while selling his plan to the public. It was a promise he repeated throughout the 2012 election and even reiterated the last week of September 2013, the week before about four million Americans received cancellation notices in the mail from their health insurance companies.
When asked about that at a Nov. 14, 2013, press conference, Obama said: "With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan, you can keep it, I think ... that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate."
5. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
Obama also said that "if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor," while selling the plan and during his 2012 re-election campaign. More recently, however, Obama admitted that some Americans will not be able to keep their doctor with the implementation of the ACA.
"For the average person, many folks who don't have health insurance initially, they're going to have to make some choices. And they might end up having to switch doctors, in part because they're saving money," he said last month in an interview with WebMD.
On the ACA website, healthcare.gov, there is a question-and-answer section. In answer to the question, "can I keep my own doctor?" the website states, "depending on the plan you choose in the Marketplace, you may be able to keep your current doctor."