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Obama adds an ‘if’ to his ‘you can keep your plan’ promise

In his latest defense of his troubled health care reform law, President Obama on Monday night massaged past statements and told supporters that the administration had indeed promised Americans they could keep their insurance plans — as long as they hadn't been changed.

His remarks, offered at a gathering of Organizing for Action volunteers in Washington, were the latest attempt by the White House to square its repeated past promises that no one would be forcibly kicked off an insurance plan with the fact that many Americans now face exactly that scenario.

Many times over the past several years, the president reassured the public that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan," emphatically stating that the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, wouldn't result in Americans' policies being canceled.

On Monday, Mr. Obama added new language to his vow and claimed that Americans were — or should have been — aware all along that policy cancellations were bound to happen.

"Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it, if it hasn't changed since the law was passed," he said. "We wrote into the Affordable Care Act, you're grandfathered in on that plan. But if the insurance company changes it, then what we're saying is they've got to change it to a higher standard, they've got to make it better, they've got to improve the quality of the plan that they're selling."

Mr. Obama's comments come as the administration faces an intense backlash over claims it misled Americans, some of whom now are being booted off of their health plans because the coverage doesn't comply with standards laid out in Obamacare.

Despite growing criticism that the White House oversold and under-delivered on Obamacare, the president told supporters that he simply couldn't allow insurance companies to continue offering substandard plans to customers.

"If we had allowed these old plans to be downgraded or sold to new enrollees once the law had already passed then we would have broken an even more important promise: making sure that Americans gain access to health care that doesn't leave them one illness away from financial ruin," the president said.

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