No asterisk necessary: If you like it, you can keep it

Rep. Steve Chabot“If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.”

Well, it appears that President Barack Obama’s pledge, made in 2009 as he was selling his health care overhaul to the American people, should have included an asterisk — not a period.

In October, NBC News reported that as many as three out of every four Americans on the individual insurance market can expect a cancellation notice from their insurance carrier.

The reason? Obamacare.

To date, 3.5 million Americans have already discovered that their health plans are unlawful under Obamacare and will be discontinued. When it’s all said and done, experts expect that millions more will lose their current insurance plans.

Fact-checkers across the country have acknowledged the President’s hollow pledge, including The Washington Post, which awarded it four Pinocchios — the most untruthful rating a statement can receive by their scale.

As much as some would like to focus squarely on the fact the President misled the public, I think it is much more important to highlight that those Americans suffering right now did nothing wrong.

They are not drains on our health care system. They are people who played by the rules before the rules were even in place. They purchased health insurance of their own accord, before any federal mandate ordered them to do so. And now, the White House is trying to quietly shuffle them off their canceled plans onto more costly, ‘government-approved’ health care plans.

Adding insult to injury, it appears the administration has known all along that this would occur. The Wall Street Journal reports that policy experts at the White House objected to the “keep your plan” pledge being perpetuated by the President, but were “overruled by political aides,” who preferred the poll-tested phrase.

After all, why let the truth get in the way of a good one-liner?

Now, after weeks of parsed words and unsavory coverage, the President has finally apologized (sort of) to those Americans who find themselves losing their insurance. But as my 89-year-old mother still tells me, actions speak louder than words.

If the President really wants to make good on his promise, then he should join the cadre of bipartisan lawmakers working to fix this debacle.

His first opportunity will be this Friday, as the House considers the “Keep Your Health Plan Act.” This legislation, authored by Congressman Fred Upton and cosponsored by myself and many others, would allow plans currently available on the individual market to continue to be offered next year.

Americans should have the freedom to select a health care plan that suits their needs, and they should not be penalized for doing so.

The President should heed my mother’s advice. And on behalf of the millions of families who are worried about the future of their health care, I hope that he can support this common-sense solution.

The “Keep Your Health Plan Act” ensures that Americans who like their health care plan can keep it, period. No asterisk necessary.

Rep. Steve Chabot is a Republican who represents Ohio’s 1st congressional district.

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