With many states’ data still outstanding, 3.5 million people have already received cancellation notices from their insurance companies, according to the Associated Press.
It’s a number that stands in stark contrast with the president’s constant promise that no existing plans would be cancelled or changed. An NBC investigation last week found that as many as 9 million could see cancellation notices during the roll-out of the health care reform law.
Speaking last week in Boston, the president said the cancellations and changes would be limited to fewer than 5% of Americans “who’ve got cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection in the event of a serious illness or an accident”—that’s 15 million Americans.
“I believe in this law,” co-host Mika Brzezinski said on Monday’s Morning Joe. “I believed in it, I do still, but that, this whole thing with the 5% of people not getting that promise? 15 million? No good.”
“You know what we do for a living, you know what the media does for a living, they’re going to go after the people and find the stories, they’re not hard to find when it’s 3.5 million people, when it’s going to be 5% of the American people,” she said.
One such person is Edie Littlefield Sundby, a woman defying odds in her battle against stage 4 gallbladder cancer.
“My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31,” she wrote in a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed published Sunday.
NBC News’ Chuck Todd remarked that many of the cancelled plans were subpar, as the president said last week.
“He could have sat there and said these individual policies stink and some of them are going to change but I promise you they’re going to change for the better,” he said. “That was a promise you could’ve kept. Where was that?”
But Hardball host Chris Matthews countered: “If you’re a cancer victim right now, who are you rooting for – the guy who’s trying to help you or the other party who never even tries?”
Former White House advisor on healthcare Dr. Zeke Emmanuel and former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs both criticized the insurance companies for cancelling so many plans.
“Who is making that change? The insurance company” Emmanuel said, suggesting that insurance companies don’t want to cover expensive clients as part of the health care law, so they’re working against it. “The insurance companies want out of this bargain, that’s why they’re sending the cancellation notices.”
Gibbs added that the website’s technical problems are making it even harder for those whose policies are being cancelled to get new insurance.
“The far bigger problem is none of the people who are getting any cancellation notices are having any luck going to the website and seeing what’s in their future,” he said.