Healthcare Expert Says ObamaCare Will Force 129 Million to Lose or Alter Their Plan; Not 'Keep It'

A healthcare expert has estimated that more than two-thirds of Americans who have private health insurance coverage will not be able to keep their previous plan due to President Obama's Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare.

"Bottom line: of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance coverage, I estimate that if Obamacare is fully implemented, at least 129 million (68 percent) will not be able to keep their previous health care plan either because they already have lost or will lose that coverage by the end of 2014," Christopher Conover, a Duke University scholar and adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), told the Daily Caller in an email. Conover added that most of these would not lose their plans entirely, but have to pay higher rates for "Obamacare-mandated bells and whistles."

"Most people are going to have some level of change in their policy," Edmund Haislmaier, Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation's Center for Health Policy Studies, told The Christian Post in an interview on Monday. "You can debate how much of that is a violation of Obama's pledge," Haislmaier added, referring to the President's promise that "if you like your coverage, you can keep it" under the new health reform.

Conover argued that Obama knew this was not the case, even while he promised it. "The problem is that he said it at least 24 times, most of which occurred after his own rule-writers had estimated that 49-80 percent of small employer plans would have lost their grandfather status by 2013, along with 34-64 percent of large employer plans," the AEI scholar said.

"Given how extensively presidential statements – especially to a joint session of Congress – are vetted and fact-checked, it is pretty inconceivable that President Obama was not aware that he was engaged in some degree of truth-twisting," Conover concluded.

Haislmaier agreed with Conover's analysis. "I don't see anything in the way he'd calculated it that struck me as being off-base," the Heritage scholar said. He claimed that individual health plans will change the most, while group plans will alter more slowly.

The Heritage Foundation scholar distinguished between self-insured and fully-insured plans. "In a self-insured arrangement, the employer retains the risk and simply pays the claims," the scholar explained. Under "fully-insured" plans, however, the insurance company foots the bill and takes the risk of having to pay for a doctor.

Most people are not aware of their own coverage, the scholar explained, because even if your employer is self-insured, the health insurance card still bears the name of an insurance company which organizes the system.

Self-insured plans are less likely to change drastically, Haislmaier noted. "They have more room to do what they do already, which is to make adjustments year by year," he explained. Mandated benefits will be required over time however.

"The law requires what you have not to be either changed to something else or replaced by something else," the Heritage scholar explained. In a certain sense, everyone will lose their coverage, because every plan will have to change to fit the new requirements, he noted.

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