WaPo Gives WH Claim That Insurance Companies to Blame for Cancellations ‘3 Pinocchios’

Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler is not buying the claim advanced by Democrats and the White House that insurance companies are to blame for the increase in cancellations of health insurance policies purchased on the individual market.

Kessler began by observing that the White House’s explanation for the mass cancelations in health policies are at odds with the administration’s own projections after the Affordable Care Act was passed into law.

“HHS [Health and Human Services], when it drafted the interim rules, estimated that between 40 and 67 percent of policies in the individual market are in effect for less than one year,” Kessler began. “‘These estimates assume that the policies that terminate are replaced by new individual policies, and that these new policies are not, by definition, grandfathered,’ the rules noted.”

RELATED: Dem Pollster: Blame Insurance Companies for Cancellations, ‘They Are a Fantastic Enemy’

During the drafting of the health-care law, insurance companies had wanted to extend the effective date for grandfathered plans until Dec. 31, 2013, which would have meant that few at this moment would be complaining that they had lost a plan they liked. Of course, that would have also meant fewer potential customers for the Obamacare exchanges in the first year.

Kessler noted that the White House wrote the rules which are now being applied to grandfathering provisions forcing insurance companies to discontinue plans which do not comply with ACA regulations.

“But more important,” he concluded, “the law has an effective date so far in the past that it virtually guaranteed that the vast majority of people currently in the individual market would end up with a notice saying they needed to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges.”

“The administration’s effort to pin the blame on insurance companies is a classic case of misdirection,” Kessler declares. He gave the White House’s claim three out of four Pinocchios.

Read the full piece via the Washington Post

[Photo via Yoon S. Byun/Boston Globe staff]

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