Category: Freedom Of Choice


Consumer alert: GMO labeling to be outlawed by ‘Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act’ introduced today in Congress

 

GMO

Thursday, April 10, 2014
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles…)

 

(NaturalNews) A proposed new federal law just introduced by Rep. G.K. Butterfield (a Democrat) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (a Republican) would outlaw state-enacted GMO labeling laws. The new law, ridiculously called the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, is actually an last-ditch, desperate effort by the biotech industry and the GMA to forever bury the truth about GMOs so that consumers don’t know they’re eating poison.

According to mainstream media reports (1), the bill would require the FDA to mandate GMO labeling only if those foods “are found to be unsafe or materially different from foods produced without biotech ingredients.”

Because the FDA and USDA have already decided, against all scientific evidence, that GMOs are “safe” and “not materially different” from other foods, this requirement is nothing but sheer sleight of hand and a pandering to idiocy. In truth, this new bill, if passed into law, would allow food companies to permanently and insidiously hide GMOs in all their products forever, nullifying the numerous state-based GMO labeling laws which are on the verge of passing.

The Environmental Working Group calls this proposed new law the “DARK Act” (Denying Americans the Right to Know), saying:

After two states have passed GE labeling bills and more than 30 others are poised to consider similar labeling bills and ballot initiatives, the food and biotech industry have goat-roped some members of Congress into introducing legislation to block state GE labeling laws.

Push for GMOs run by criminally-minded organizations

GMOs have already been restricted or banned in over 60 countries (2), and Americans are very close to achieving victory in state-based GMO labeling campaigns. The very idea that American consumers might find out they’ve been eating GMO poisons in most of their favorite foods is so horrifying to the biotech industry (and the processed food front groups) that its enforcers are now seeking this “nuclear option” to legally deceive consumers about GMOs with the complicity of the FDA.

 

Read More Here

 

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U.S. bill seeks to block mandatory GMO food labeling by states

April 9 Wed Apr 9, 2014 12:46pm EDT

(Reuters) – A Republican congressman from Kansas introduced legislation on Wednesday that would nullify efforts in multiple states to require labeling of genetically modified foods

The bill, dubbed the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act” was drafted by U.S. Rep. Mike Pompeo from Kansas, and is aimed at overriding bills in roughly two dozen states that would require foods made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled as such.

The bill specifically prohibits any mandatory labeling of foods developed using bioengineering.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” said Pompeo. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Consumer groups have been arguing for labeling because of questions they have both about the safety for human health and the environmental impacts of genetically modified foods, also called GMOs.

Ballot measures in California in 2012 and last year in Washington state narrowly lost after GMO crop developers, including Monsanto Co., and members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) poured millions into campaigns to defeat the measures.

The companies say the crops are safe and cite many scientific studies back those claims. Pompeo on Wednesday reiterated those claims, stating GMOS are safe and “equally healthy” and no labeling is needed.

“It has to date made food safer and more abundant,” said Pompeo. “It has been an enormous boon to all of humanity.”

But there are also many scientific studies showing links to human and animal health problems, and many indicating environmental damage related to GMO crops.

 

Read More Here

 

 

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Congress considers blocking GMO food labeling

Published time: April 09, 2014 20:10
Edited time: April 10, 2014 11:01
AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

AFP Photo / Robyn Beck

A new bill introduced in Congress looks to ban states from implementing their own labeling laws when it comes to food containing genetically engineered ingredients.

According to Reuters, US Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced the legislation on Wednesday, which is intended to head off bills in about 24 states that would require companies to inform customers when their food is produced using genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Titled the “Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act,” the proposal would forbid states from enacting such proposals.

“We’ve got a number of states that are attempting to put together a patchwork quilt of food labeling requirements with respect to genetic modification of foods,” Pompeo told Reuters. “That makes it enormously difficult to operate a food system. Some of the campaigns in some of these states aren’t really to inform consumers but rather aimed at scaring them. What this bill attempts to do is set a standard.”

Supporters of GMO labeling argue that modified ingredients pose a threat to human health, and that as a result they should be clearly labeled in the marketplace so that consumers can make informed decisions. In addition to health concerns, they also point to the negative environmental consequences that could arise from widespread GMO use, since millions of acres of farmland and weeds are developing resistances to the pesticides used.

Opponents, however, point to their own studies, showing that GMO crops are safe and therefore do not need to be labeled differently than other products.

 

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Published time: April 04, 2014 04:00

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

(AFP Photo / Dieter Nagl)

Rep. Mike Pompeo will introduce legislation backed by powerful trade groups to prevent states from passing laws requiring the labeling of genetically-modified foods, according to reports. The bill is linked to biotech giant Monsanto and Koch Industries.

Pompeo will offer the bill in the US House before Congress leaves for Easter recess later this month, The Hill newspaper reported, citing industry sources. Politico also reported on the impending proposal. Pompeo’s office would not comment on the congressman’s intentions for a labeling restriction.

The bill includes a “prohibition against mandatory labeling,” according to The Hill, echoing powerful interest groups that have already declared war against such “right to know” labeling laws around the nation.

It was revealed in recent months that powerful farming and biotechnology interest groups like Monsanto were joining forces – under the name ‘Coalition for Safe Affordable Food‘ – to push a federal voluntary labeling standard for food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in an effort to stem the tide of state legislation seeking to mandate labeling.

In recent years, voters in states such as California and Washington have narrowly defeated ballot initiatives proposing mandatory GMO labeling, though not without dragging members of the new Coalition into expensive campaigns to defeat the measures. Many other states are now considering their own proposals to label GMO food.

A top member of the Coalition – the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), a major food industry lobbying group – raised and spent the bulk of the overall $22 million that opponents of labeling sank into defeating Washington State’s ballot initiative on GMO labeling last year. That total number was three times the amount that proponents of labeling spent in the state. GMA was joined in its effort by allies such as biotech giants Monsanto, Bayer, and DuPont.

The Coalition said in February that it would seek to empower the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “to establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients.” In addition, the Coalition proposes the FDA mandate labels for GMO food or ingredients that the agency deems a “health, safety or nutrition issue,” though no consumables currently fall in such a category.

“The legislation we’re proposing would preclude state legislation that conflicts with the federal standards,” GMA president Pamela Bailey said of the Coalition’s aim, The Hill reported.

 

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Published time: March 09, 2014 21:19
Edited time: March 09, 2014 22:39

Pro-Russian demonstrators attend a rally in Donetsk March 9, 2014.(Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin )

Pro-Russian demonstrators attend a rally in Donetsk March 9, 2014.(Reuters / Konstantin Chernichkin )

Crimea’s upcoming referendum will reflect the legitimate interests of its people, Russian President Vladimir Putin told two EU leaders over the phone. Inspired by Crimea’s actions, eastern Ukraine is also protesting the coup-imposed government in Kiev.

Putin on Sunday had a top-level conversation on the situation in Ukraine with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister David Cameron, according to a statement issued by the Kremlin press service.

The Russian president “underlined in particular that the steps taken by Crimea’s legitimate authorities are based on international law and aimed at guaranteeing the legitimate interests of the peninsula’s population,” the statement said.

The “lack of any action” on part of the current Kiev authorities with regard to ultra-nationalists and radical forces acting in Ukraine has particularly been noted by Putin.

While Putin reminded that the power in Kiev was seized in an unconstitutional armed coup, Merkel stressed that, according to Europe’s view, the Crimean referendum violates the Ukrainian constitution and international law.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (L-R) sit to watch a fragment of the ballet "Ruslan and Lyudmila" during the G20 Summit in Peterhof near St. Petersburg September 6, 2013.(Reuters / Michael Klimentyev)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron (L-R) sit to watch a fragment of the ballet “Ruslan and Lyudmila” during the G20 Summit in Peterhof near St. Petersburg September 6, 2013.(Reuters / Michael Klimentyev)

The German Chancellor also “pointed out the urgency of finally coming to a substantial result” on the issue of forming the “international contact group” on Ukraine, Reuters reported.

Despite the difference of opinions, the sides have agreed that the de-escalation of tension in Ukraine is in everyone’s interest, the Kremlin statement notes.

 

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Natural Society

by
February 2nd, 2014
Updated 02/02/2014 at 1:53 am

 

food trade 263x164 Sedgwick, Maine First to Enact Free Food Trade Immune to Federal Law, Say NO to Forced GMO Regulations

Sedgwick, Maine, the first town in the US to legalize any kind of food transaction as free and legal in order to keep the right to produce raw milk, organic produce, free-range eggs, and more, is revolutionizing the way America keeps its food rights – including saying no to GMOs. In other words, it is the first town to declare food sovereignty while opposing both state and federal laws.

The town has passed an ordinance that protects citizens’ rights to “produce, sell, purchase, and consume any food of their choosing.” The ordinance laughs in the face of FDA regulations and their hodge-podge way of giving food a rubber stamp of approval, especially GMO. Three additional towns in Maine are expected to pass similar ordinances as well.

The move is somewhat similar to a move one England town made, where the citizens transformed their entire town’s landscape into a giant food-producing garden. Both are great examples of moving toward food sovereignty.

It isn’t just a declaration on the whim of a few city council members. There is a warrant added: “It shall be unlawful for any law or regulation adopted by the state or federal government to interfere with the rights recognized by this Ordinance.” This means that federal interference is prohibited in our food supply – at least in Maine. If you can’t get Monsanto out of the government, take the government out of your food. It’s a brilliant way around the convoluted system now in place that almost gave Monsanto the right to be exempt from federal prosecution for its poison food and which tries to hoist (foist.. DR) it upon the whole Nation without consent.

 

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  • January 10 at 11:13 am

FILE - In this June 26, 2013 file photo, Gov. Paul LePage speaks to reporters shortly after the Maine House and Senate both voted to override his veto of the state budget, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. The Republican governor's clash with Democratic lawmakers over whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act ended with the governor's veto - and a vow by Democrats to try again. The story, one of several quarrels between the GOP governor and Democratic-controlled Legislature, was voted the top story of 2013 in Maine in a survey by The Associated Press and its member news organizations in Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File) Maine Gov. Paul LePage in June 2013.   (Robert F. Bukaty/AP)

Maine will become the second state to require labels on food that contains genetically modified ingredients under new legislation signed by Gov. Paul LePage (R) this week — but only after other states follow suit.

LePage signed the legislation, initially introduced by a Republican state representative, over the objections of agriculture giants who produce many of the raw ingredients that go into everyday foods.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that about 70 percent of the food products sold in supermarkets contain genetically modified ingredients, the Portland Press-Herald reported.

But shoppers in Maine won’t see those GMO labels slapped all over grocery stores any time soon. The legislation doesn’t go into effect until five nearby states, including New Hampshire, pass similar labeling laws. New Hampshire’s legislature will take up a similar measure during its legislative session this year.

That provision was necessary, the bill’s backers said, to build a broad base of support. It’s similar to a provision in a GMO labeling bill passed by Connecticut’s legislature, signed into law last month by Gov. Dannel Malloy (D), which won’t take effect until a combination of Northeastern states that add up to 20 million residents pass similar legislation.

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Spurning President Obama’s plan for canceled policies, California’s health insurance exchange voted against any extension for about 1 million policyholders in the state.

 

The five-member board of the exchange voted unanimously to keep its current requirement that insurers terminate most individual policies Dec. 31 because they don’t meet all the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

The decision ends a weeklong drama over what would happen for policyholders who will lose their existing coverage at year-end and face finding replacement insurance that may cost them substantially more in many instances.

Covered California, the state exchange, considered allowing renewals into 2014 as Obama proposed or a short-term extension through March to give people more time to shop.

But state leaders ultimately rejected those options. They expressed concerns about further confusing consumers and worried that widespread renewals could keep too many healthy customers out of the broader risk pool that will shape future rates.

 

 

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By Tom Howell Jr.

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The Washington Times

Nearly 40 House Democrats defied President Obama and helped the Republican majority pass a bill Friday that lets Americans keep, for one year, health plans that do not comply with Obamacare.

The defections from 39 members of Mr. Obama’s party highlighted the pressure on Congress to help people who lost coverage because of the president’s signature law, as balky websites keep a veil over alternative plans and pressure mounts on the Democrat-led Senate to forge a remedy.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Health Care Reform


“Let’s face it, millions of people right now have a cancelled policy,” Rep. Ron Barber, Arizona Democrat, said before voting for the Keep Your Health Plan Act.

The House passed the bill, 261 to 157, despite a veto threat from Mr. Obama and objections from Democrats who said the legislation was an insidious attempt to rot the Affordable Care Act from the inside out.

Four Republicans voted against the bill, perhaps because it could be viewed as an attempt to smooth over Mr. Obama’s controversial reforms.

Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, offered the bill at the height of furor over Mr. Obama’s oft-repeated promise that people who liked their health plans could keep them. Millions of Americans received cancellation notices because their plans did not meet the health care law’s coverage requirements, forcing the president to apologize as vulnerable Democrats scrambled to find a legislative solution.

Rampant glitches on the HealthCare.gov website — a federal portal that connects 36 states with plans under Obamcare — have intensified the problem, because people losing their policies cannot explore their options.

Mr. Barber said some Arizonans are “beside themselves.”

“Because by December 31 they don’t have health coverage, and they can’t get on the exchange to find out what’s available,” he told reporters.

Mr. Obama announced an administrative remedy on Thursday that permits insurers to offer a one-year renewal to people who hold noncompliant plans, and Senate Democrats are pushing legislation that would let existing enrollees hold onto their plans indefinitely.

The Republican-led bill goes further, allowing new enrollees to gain current health plans that do not comply with Obamacare.

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House passes Republican health bill with 39 Democratic votes

WASHINGTON Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:15am EST

U.S. President Barack Obama meets with health insurance chief executives at the White House in Washington November 15, 2013. REUTERS-Kevin Lamarque

1 of 5. U.S. President Barack Obama meets with health insurance chief executives at the White House in Washington November 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

(Reuters) – In the most significant legislative rebuke to President Barack Obama’s healthcare overhaul, 39 members of his Democratic Party voted for a Republican bill in the House of Representatives on Friday aimed at undermining his signature domestic policy.

The measure, which would allow insurance companies to renew and sell inexpensive, limited-coverage policies that have been canceled because they don’t meet the standards of the new healthcare law that took effect on October 1, passed 261-157.

The 39 Democrats who supported the bill – nearly one-fifth of the party’s caucus – reflected the alarm that spread within Obama’s party this week over the political damage from the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Republicans have vowed to make Democratic support for the troubled law the top issue in the 2014 elections. Twenty-nine of the 39 Democrats who voted for the Republican bill are running for re-election in competitive races, according to rankings by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Obama’s approval ratings have plunged during the past six weeks, as the rollout of the healthcare program that is his top domestic achievement has been beset by technical glitches with the federal online insurance website designed to allow consumers to shop for policies.

In recent days, HealthCare.gov’s problems have been overshadowed by reports that insurance companies were canceling the policies of millions of Americans whose policies did not meet the new law’s requirements that policies cover emergency treatment, hospital stays and prescription drugs, among other things.

For years, Obama had promised that Americans would be able to keep their policies if they liked them.

But the wave of cancellations has fueled the biggest political crisis of Obama’s presidency and led to an extraordinary scene at the White House on Thursday, as a contrite Obama took the blame for the healthcare program’s dismal start.

He said he believed that he had to win back the confidence of the American people, and offered an administrative “fix” that would allow some people to retain their non-conforming insurance policies for at least a year.

Obama’s plan dismayed some of his supporters who say that the cheap, limited-coverage plans that the new law aims to phase out often give consumers a false sense of having meaningful health coverage.

It also created concern in the insurance industry – which for years had planned the health insurance exchanges created by Obamacare – and among state insurance commissioners.

Industry advocates warned that Obama effectively was tinkering with the delicate and complex funding behind the healthcare law, and that premiums could begin soaring in 2015 if millions of consumers who were projected to be in Obamacare’s health exchanges continued to hold limited-coverage policies instead.

Read More Here

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by Associated Press

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Updated today at 12:29 PM

SEATTLE  — A Washington state ballot measure requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods is failing in early returns.

The campaign over Initiative 522 has been one of the costliest initiative fights in state history, drawing millions of dollars from out of state.

See complete list of Decision 2013 Results

The measure was failing 45 percent to 55 percent with more than 980,000 ballots counted Tuesday night.

“We’re delighted with the vote tonight,” said Dana Bieber, a spokeswoman for the No on 522 campaign. Voters “gave a clear message. The more they looked at the initiative the less they liked it.”

But labeling supporters weren’t conceding.

Read More and Watch Video Here

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Monsanto Propaganda Defeats Major GMO Labeling Bill

Anthony Gucciardi

Published on Nov 6, 2013

Anthony Gucciardi of Storyleak and NaturalSociety breaks down how Monsanto’s propaganda has killed the GMO labeling initiative in Washington and the company is becoming even more desperate than ever in this report with Infowars studios.

Anthony Gucciardi is the acting Editor and Founder of alternative news website Storyleak.com, as well as the Founder of the third largest natural health website in the world, NaturalSociety.com. He is also a news media personality and analyst who has been featured on top news, radio, and television organizations including Drudge Report, Michael Savage’s Savage Nation, Coast to Coast AM, and RT.

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Image Source  :  Wikimedia . Org

Four colors of pills

Author Ragesoss   Photo by Sage Ross (ragesoss.com)

Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

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The Hill

The agency responsible for implementing ObamaCare erroneously paid out millions of dollars on behalf of dead people in 2011, according to a report released Thursday by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) paid $23 million to providers, suppliers, Medicare Advantage organizations and prescription drug plan sponsors on behalf of beneficiaries who died between 2009 and 2011, the OIG found.

That’s less than one-tenth of one percent of total Medicare expenditures, and the report says CMS “has safeguards to prevent and recover” those payments.

The OIG offered a handful of recommendations, such as taking action against providers and suppliers that had high numbers of claims with service dates after a beneficiary’s death, as a way to minimize further inappropriate payments.

Read More Here

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Medicare paid $23 million for dead patients in 2011 and $29 million for drug benefits for illegal immigrants from 2009 to 2011, according to a report Thursday from the Health and Human Services inspector general.

The investigators said Medicare has safeguards to try to stop payments to dead patients, but it still ended up sending out the $23 million anyway.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the same agency that is struggling to fix the broken Obamacare website — acknowledged the problems and said it will try to take steps to fix them.

“We agree that in cases where the information indicates an individual is not lawfully present in the United States, that individual should not be permitted to enroll or to remain enrolled in a Part D plan during the period where he or she is not eligible to receive federal benefits,” Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of CMS, said in response to the report about illegal immigrants getting benefits.

The payouts aren’t large — they amount to just a fraction of a percent of what Medicare pays each year in benefits. Still, the investigators said the agency should take steps to crack down.

In one of its reports the inspector general said 4,139 illegal immigrants were able to make 279,056 drug benefit claims.

Read More Here

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Dead farmers reap millions in subsidies, GAO audit shows

The federal government is still paying out millions of dollars a year in subsidies to dead farmers, according to a government audit released Monday that said the Agriculture Department doesn’t do the routine checks required to make sure it is paying benefits to the right people.

The Government Accountability Office said one agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, made $10.6 million payments from 2008 to 2012 on behalf of more than 1,100 people who had been dead at least a year. Another arm of the department, the Risk Management Agency, paid out $22 million to more than 3,400 policyholders who had been dead at least two years.

Some of the payments may have been legal because they were for work completed before the farmers died, but the GAO said the problem is that the two agencies don’t perform routine checks — such as looking at the Social Security lists — to verify their information.

“Until and unless NRCS and RMA develop and implement procedures to have their payment or subsidy data records matched against SSA’s complete death master file, either through coordination with FSA or on their own, these agencies cannot know if they are providing payments to, or subsidies on behalf of, deceased individuals; how often they are providing such payments or subsidies; or in what amounts,” the investigators wrote.

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Investigative reporting from NBC News

 

Larry Downing / Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama walks out to deliver remarks alongside Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, October 1, 2013.

By Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye

NBC News

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

 

 

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, “40 to 67 percent” of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, “the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.”

That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them.

Yet President Obama, who had promised in 2009, “if you like your health plan, you will be able to keep your health plan,” was still saying in 2012, “If [you] already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance.”

“This says that when they made the promise, they knew half the people in this market outright couldn’t keep what they had and then they wrote the rules so that others couldn’t make it either,” said  Robert Laszewski, of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, a consultant who works for health industry firms. Laszewski estimates that 80 percent of those in the individual market will not be able to keep their current policies and will have to buy insurance that meets requirements of the new law, which generally requires a richer package of benefits than most policies today. 

The White House does not dispute that many in the individual market will lose their current coverage, but argues they will be offered better coverage in its place, and that many will get tax subsidies that would offset any increased costs.

“One of the main goals of the law is to ensure that people have insurance they can rely on – that doesn’t discriminate or charge more based on pre-existing conditions.  The consumers who are getting notices are in plans that do not provide all these protections – but in the vast majority of cases, those same insurers will automatically shift their enrollees to a plan that provides new consumer protections and, for nearly half of individual market enrollees, discounts through premium tax credits,” said White House spokesperson Jessica Santillo.

“Nothing in the Affordable Care Act forces people out of their health plans: The law allows plans that covered people at the time the law was enacted to continue to offer that same coverage to the same enrollees – nothing has changed and that coverage can continue into 2014,” she said.

Individual insurance plans with low premiums often lack basic benefits, such as prescription drug coverage, or carry high deductibles and out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act requires all companies to offer more benefits, such as mental health care, and also bars companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions.

Today, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the president’s promise that consumers would be able to keep their health care. “What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide,” Carney said. “So it’s true that there are existing healthcare plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.”

Courtesy of Heather Goldwater

Heather Goldwater, 38, of South Carolina, says that she received a letter from her insurer saying the company would no longer offer her plan, but hasn’t yet received a follow-up letter with a comparable option.

 

Other experts said that most consumers in the individual market will not be able to keep their policies. Nancy Thompson, senior vice president of CBIZ Benefits, which helps companies manage their employee benefits, says numbers in this market are hard to pin down, but that data from states and carriers suggests “anywhere from 50 to 75 percent” of individual policy holders will get cancellation letters. Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who chairs the health committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, says that estimate is “probably about right.” She added that a few states are asking insurance companies to cancel and replace policies, rather than just amend them, to avoid confusion.

 

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