White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was forced to provide caveats to another of the President’s Obamacare promises Tuesday, this one regarding Americans’ ability to keep their doctor.
When asked by ABC’s Jon Karl whether Obama’s promise that if individuals “like their doctor they could keep their doctor, period” was still operative, Carney launched into a lengthy response, culminating with, “if you want coverage from your doctor, a doctor that you've seen that in the past, and want that, you can look and see if there's a plan in which that doctor participates.”
When Karl noted that Carney’s statement was not the President’s unequivocal answer and was a promise that needed to be modified, Carney could only respond, “Jon, I think everybody understands how the insurance system works.”
Below is a transcript of the exchange:
JON KARL: Jay, just a couple quick things. First, the president, as you know, many times said some variation of this: We will keep this promise to the American people; if you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.
Is that promise still operative?
MR. CARNEY: Jon the president made clear throughout the effort to pass the Affordable Care Act and throughout the period in which — that continues to this day, in which Republicans have sought to repeal it, that the vast majority of the American people, those who have insurance through their employers, who have insurance through Medicare and Medicaid, will not see a change, and that includes to how their plans allow them to get access to different doctors.
The reality of the insurance system that we've seen over the years is that these plans change all the time. So there are limits, if you're building on the private insurance-based system that the president is doing, using the model from a Republican governor of Massachusetts, as he did. There are — this is not a government-run insurance program.
What is the case is that if you're purchasing insurance in the marketplace, you have a variety of options available to you, from less expensive plans to more expensive, more comprehensive plans. And as is the case in insurance markets and networks all over the country, the more comprehensive plans tend to have broader networks.
So if you are looking for — if you want coverage from your doctor, a doctor that you've seen that in the past, and want that, you can look and see if there's a plan in which that doctor participates.
And that reflects the way that the private insurance has long worked.
KARL: So is this another promise where he needs to kind of modify because that's not what he said. He said, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, period. But you just offered, you know, for the vast majority and depending on which plan you keep and — I mean –
MR. CARNEY: Jon, I think everybody understands how the insurance system works.