By Tom Curry National affairs writer
updated 9/9/2009 9:37:34 PM ET 2009-09-10T01:37:34

Claim: If you’re happy with your insurance, nothing in Democrats’ proposals would change your coverage or care.

In his speech to Congress Wednesday night, President Obama said, “If you are among the hundreds of millions of Americans who already have health insurance through your job, Medicare, Medicaid, or the VA, nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” But polls show substantial public wariness about the effect of an insurance overhaul; some people think their coverage and care will be hurt.

Fact or fiction?
Unclear. While the Democrats bills don’t force Americans to change their coverage or to switch doctors, employers and doctors might take action unilaterally, against the wishes of employees or patients. Employers might decide to pay an 8 percent penalty instead of insuring their workers, forcing the workers to go get their own coverage. Likewise, doctors serving Medicare patients could drop them if the Obama administration follows through on its promise to reduce annual increases in Medicare payments to physicians and other caregivers. The Congressional Budget Office said last year such reductions might “might cause some providers to lower the quality of care they provided or to stop serving Medicare beneficiaries altogether.”

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