The Real Obama Liberal Legacy: ‘If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It.’

John Boehner

The Real Obama Liberal Legacy is a periodic series to highlight the results of liberal progressivism put into practice.

Next up, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” As Obamacare continues to unravel, we look back at one of its biggest broken promises. 

The Promise: “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.” This was a go-to line for President Obama in the lead-up to the creation of Obamacare. In an effort to ease concerns about his sweeping government overhaul of our health care system, the president and his surrogates repeated this “promise” over and over again as if it were fact. Indeed, on at least 37 separate occasions, the president pledged that Americans would be able to keep the plan they like.

The Reality: The reality is simple: This was not true. Before Obamacare became law, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that millions of Americans would lose their plans. And that’s exactly what happened. Shortly after the law took effect, millions of Americans received letters informing them that their plans had been cancelled. 

‘Lie of the Year’: So how big was this lie? So big that the non-partisan fact-checker PolitiFact named “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” their Lie of the Year. PolitiFact wrote that the “promise was impossible to keep. So this fall, as cancellation letters were going out to approximately 4 million Americans, the public realized Obama’s breezy assurances were wrong. . . . Obama and his team made matters worse, suggesting they had been misunderstood all along.”

Not Funny: While the president’s advisors laugh off the broken promise, Americans across the country have been forced to deal with the harsh reality of losing their health care. The stress and financial uncertainty associated with losing health insurance is no laughing matter for families across the country.

Wrong Direction: It’s now 2016 and Obamacare appears to be imploding. Insurers continue to flee exchanges, leaving Americans with fewer options and higher costs. For example, a recent report from the New York Times says that “17 percent of Americans eligible for an Affordable Care Act plan may have only one insurer to choose next year. . . . By comparison, only 2 percent of eligible customers last year had only one choice.” 

Collapsing CO-OPs: Another sign of Obamacare’s failure is the collapse of the federally backed Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) programs across the country.  So far 16 of the 23 CO-OPs created under the law have failed, which leaves more Americans without health insurance.

Better Way: This week the House voted to provide relief for people affected by CO-OP failures. Rep. Adrian Smith’s (R-NE) bill, the CO-OP Consumer Protection Act of 2016, exempts from Obamacare’s individual-mandate tax penalty those who unexpectedly lost their health insurance in the middle of the year when their CO-OP closed. But the fundamental problems with our health care system won’t be solved until we get rid Obamacare and replace it. That’s why House Republicans have put forward a plan to replace Obamacare with a patient-centered system that gives every American access to quality, affordable health care. Read more about our plan at

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