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A ‘No Change’ Promise We Can’t Believe In

As a candidate, President Obama promised “change.” But, when it comes to health care, it turns out plenty of people like the status quo. So now the president has a new promise: No change.

“I keep on saying this but somehow folks aren't listening: If you like your health care plan, you keep your health care plan. Nobody is going to force you to leave your health care plan,” Obama told the audience at a town hall meeting this month in Grand Junction, Colo.

Maybe the reason people aren’t listening is because they know that the president’s claim isn’t true. Obama has criticized his opponents for spreading false rumors about his health care proposal, but his own record is not much better.

In a recent “Under the Microscope” feature, The Washington Post gave Obama’s claims a close look. According to legislation written by three House committees and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, eligible employers could decide to switch over to a new insurance marketplace. Supporters say that employees at companies that switch to the exchange would have access to more and better options than they do now.

But there is no guarantee that their old insurance would be among the available options. In fact, as the newspaper points out, since there will be new requirements for insurance programs to comply with, the offerings probably will be different

Not to mention that some employers may decide to drop their coverage altogether, something that, as I have mentioned, I might consider doing. In an interview, White House spokeswoman Linda D. Douglass admitted that, although the Congressional Budget Office has determined that the dropping of coverage would be minimal, "That is not to say that some employers will not drop coverage.”

Nothing currently prevents employers from changing their health plans or guarantees that people can keep the health plans they like indefinitely, and there is nothing in the pending legislation that would add those protections.

So, for the record, there will not be any death panels, Obama isn’t a socialist, and you can’t necessarily keep the insurance you have now.

The White House may not be made of glass, but Obama should pay a little more attention to the old proverb before he starts throwing stones.

Larry M. Elkin is the founder and president of Palisades Hudson, and is based out of Palisades Hudson’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida headquarters. He wrote several of the chapters in the firm’s book, Looking Ahead: Life, Family, Wealth and Business After 55. His contributions include Chapter 1, “Looking Ahead When Youth Is Behind Us” and Chapter 4, “The Family Business."

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