Duke Scholar: 129 Million Americans will lose Current Insurance due to Obamacare

Chris Conover

A renowned researcher at Duke University reported last week that full implementation of the Affordable Care Act will force 68% of Americans with private health insurance, or 129 million people, to lose their current coverage.

Chris Conover with Duke’s Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research and the American Enterprise Institute, shared these findings in a statement released last week in response to comments made by David Axelrod, former Senior Adviser for President Barack Obama.

Responding to a comment Axelrod made that the majority of Americans will keep their existing coverage, Conover stated, “I suppose one could interpret this as a tacit admission that at least for those not in the vast majority, Obamacare violates President Obama’s June 15, 2009 promise that ‘If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.’  But the sad reality is that David Axelrod himself also is dead wrong: it’s more accurate to say that the president’s pledge will be shattered for a solid majority of Americans with private health insurance coverage.”

Conover concluded that 129 million of the 189 million Americans with private health insurance will be forced off their plans as a result of the implementation of regulations and requirements of the Affordable Care Act. His analysis includes the following coverage eliminations:

  • 9.2 to 15.4 million in the non-group market
  • 16.6 million in the small group market
  • 102.7 million in the large group market

“Most of these are individuals involuntarily forced to purchase expensive add-ons to their existing plans,” Conover stated. “But included among these are the many millions now having their non-group policies cancelled along with 9 to 35 million who will lose their existing employer-provided plans entirely. Most admittedly will find other coverage, yet out of this group, 1.5 million will become uninsured, along with 2.3 million from the non-group market who likewise become uninsured because they simply cannot afford the expensive Obamacare upgrades.”

“In short, the ‘vast majority’ are not keeping their health plans. Statements to the contrary are flatly untrue.”

In a recent interview with The Daily Caller, Conover also discussed the significant impact of coverage mandates and how strict interpretation of “grandfather” clauses mentioned during President Obama’s promotion of health care reform would endanger existing health insurance options.

“Technically, every single health plan in the country already has been subject to at least some new Obamacare requirements. That is, even ‘grandfathered’ plans and self-insured plans were required to eliminate lifetime and annual limits and to cover dependents up to age 26 on their parent’s plan. Each of these “improvements” in coverage costs money, just as every feature you add to your car costs money (anti-lock brakes, all-wheel drive)…

“So strictly speaking, NO ONE who was entirely satisfied with their pre-Obamacare coverage has been able to keep it.”

Congressman across the country have received calls from their constituents who received letters indicating their existing insurance plans, which they were supposed to be allowed to keep under the Affordable Care Act, have to be cancelled due to noncompliance with regulations.

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones (R-3rd District) has called for Congressional hearings into the issue of cancellations and other cases where citizens are being forced to pay significant premium increases.

Congressman Walter Jones (R-NC 2nd)

“Individuals in Eastern North Carolina and across the country are being forced to pay exorbitant rate increases for new insurance plans that they do not want while being prohibited from visiting the doctors that they need,” said Congressman Jones in a letter to Congressional leadership.  “This runs directly contrary to the president’s promise that ‘if you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan’ and is further proof that this law is an unaffordable burden to the average American.”

The latest report from the Associated Press indicates that approximatley 160,000 individuals in North Carolina have so far received cancellation notices for their existing policies. As a comparison, a recent report by WNCN television showed that only 1 person had signed-up for coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina through the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchange.

So far, at least 3.5 million Americans have received cancellation notices.

As part of ongoing damage control resulting from the rollout of Affordable Care Act provisions, including the establishment of health insurance marketplaces and the impending individual insurance coverage mandate, the Obama Administration is asking insurance companies to provide better explanations to current policy holders who are being told their existing policies are being cancelled.