Nightly News   |  October 29, 2013

Obamacare official: ‘it’s working,’ just not at success rate we want

On Tuesday, the White House insisted President Obama did not mislead Americans when promising everyone could keep their insurance if they like it. But so far, almost 2 million of the 14 million Americans who buy individual coverage have gotten letters that their policy is canceled or has to change because of the law. NBC’s Lisa Myers reports.

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>>> problem on the part of the government that starts off our broadcast. specifically, this new health care law . beyond the colossal problems with the website well chronicled, now it is the message by the president who told people if you like your plan you can keep it. now with the insurance companies discontinuing the policies of some people, we find it is no longer the case as many deal with the potential of higher costs. our senior correspondent lisa myers broke the story and has more for us from washington, good evening.

>> reporter: brian, good evening, so far almost 2 million of the 14 million americans who buy individual coverage have gotten letters that their policy is cancelled or has to change because of the law. still, the white house insists the president did not mislead american americans when he promised everyone could keep their insurance .

>> here is a guarantee that i have made. if you have insurance that you like, then you will be able to keep that insurance .

>> reporter: that doesn't sit well with george schwab who is retired, started a new business, and has been told because of the new health care law his current policy is no longer available because it doesn't meet minimum standards. his new policy? comes with a premium increase of more than 400%.

>> i just wish i could have my insurance back. i just -- that is what i want.

>> reporter: he now has to pay for more than he wants, including pregnancy coverage for his 59-year-old wife.

>> i just don't think that was all that well thought out. i think the intentions were good. but you know, there is a lot of things that need to be fixed.

>> my constituents are frightened.

>> reporter: on capitol hill , the first administration official to appear since the botched rollout of the obama care website, apologized. but insisted that the system is working.

>> the system is working?

>> i'm saying it is working, just not at the speed or success rate we want.

>> how do you not know how many people enrolled?

>> chairman, we'll have the numbers in november.

>> reporter: the president spokesperson emphasized that those losing their coverage are getting better plans and sometimes subsidies. he seemed to rephrase the president's promise.

>> if you had insurance that you liked on an individual market and you wanted to keep that insurance through 2010 , 11, 12, 13, and in pepputuity and it was available, you could.

>> reporter: a reminder that 80% of americans are not impacted by this because they get their insurance through their employer, medicaid or medicare. now, secretary kathleen sebelius will be facing tough questions tomorrow.

>> lisa myers starting us off from our d.c. news room,