WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A top White House officials said Sunday grandfathering substandard health insurance plans into the Affordable Care Act would have hurt U.S. consumers.
Dan Pfeiffer said on ABC's "This Week" a goal of the program, also known as Obamacare, was to provide access to affordable and quality health insurance, so substandard plans on the market needed to go.
"If the president were to allow people to have those plans be downgraded, or insurance companies to keep selling bare-bones plans ... he would be violating even more important promise to the American people, that everyone would have a guarantee to access of quality affordable health insurance," Pfeiffer said.
He said the percentage of Americans whose health insurance plans were being canceled by their carriers was 5 percent of the market for individual plans.
"Most of them will get a better plan for less for the same or less," Pfeiffer said. "And many these plans (that were canceled) were cut-rate plans that didn't cover hospitalization or doctor's visits."
Pfeiffer's assessment was challenged by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., who told ABC the level of choice could plummet quickly as customers desert the private market in favor of Medicare.
"Where there were once hundreds of plans that you could choose from, there's now four government-mandated plans," Paul said. "If your insurance doesn't meet, because it's not as good as them, you can't buy it."
Paul contended many of his constituents had told him insurers were dropping plans that met or exceeded the minimum standards set by the ACA.
"I think government is inherently inept, because they don't work on a profit motive," Paul said.
"Government shouldn't take on new opportunities or new things to do when it's not managing what it has now."