Biden: If You Like Your Health Care Plan 'You Can Keep It'

Obama made the exact same promise about the ACA

October 24, 2019

Former vice president Joe Biden told voters they will be able to keep their health care plans under his campaign proposal, echoing Barack Obama's infamous talking point.

Biden has seen his polling lead narrow, amid increased support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), each of whom supports Medicare for All. The former vice president emphasized that his plan, which would maintain and build on Obamacare while implementing a broad public option, will give Americans more choice in the insurance market.

"Under my plan, if you negotiated an agreement for health care with your employer, union, or otherwise, and you like it because you’ve given up wages to get it, you can keep it," Biden said during a campaign event on Wednesday. "It should be your choice. But if you don’t like it you can leave it."

Obama marketed his signature health care reform—the Affordable Care Act—using a similar talking point. He repeatedly told voters, "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it." That promise generated backlash as people were pushed off their health care plans or forced to pay more for medical coverage options they did not need. Politifact declared the talking point the "Lie of the Year" in 2013.

Obama eventually apologized in an interview with NBC.

"There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate," Obama said in a statement. "It was not because of my intention not to deliver on that commitment and that promise. We put a grandfather clause into the law, but it was insufficient."