Obama's Heath Care Promises: Can You <strong>Really</strong> Keep Your Doctor?

Last Updated Jul 21, 2009 10:49 AM EDT

In President Obama's weekly radio address, he said: "Under our proposal, if you like your doctor, you keep your doctor. If you like your current insurance, you keep that insurance. Period, end of story."

Really? What happens if your employer decides to change health plans? Isn't this akin to a company switching 401(k) providers? There are countless instances of firms dumping one retirement plan sponsor for another, often less attractive plan. Sure, you, the retirement plan participant could opt not to use the company's plan, but the more likely scenario is that you would continue contributing to a plan that is not quite as good. My guess is that this is exactly what would happen in health care.

I'm not commenting about whether this is good or bad, rather that Americans deserve to know what the real cost of reforming health care will be--and make no mistake, there will be costs. How could it be otherwise? In order to overhaul the current messy and inefficient system, lots of people who are wealthy or currently have coverage, are going to pay a price. The price may be increased taxes, extra expenses for small business owners (which may affect their employees) or changes in care.

Instead of talking in absolutes, we deserve to hear the truth, something that rarely occurs in politics. I think that it's some version of this: the current system is obviously broken and we need to create a way to provide access to affordable health care for all Americans, but the price of doing so will be real and significant.

Image by Flickr User Chris Lae, cc 2.0

  • Jill Schlesinger On Twitter» On Google+»

    View all articles by Jill Schlesinger on CBS MoneyWatch »
    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.