Sources: White House told insurance execs to keep quiet on Obamacare
October 30, 2013 -- Updated 2012 GMT (0412 HKT)
- Insurance company executives say they got calls from White House after speaking out
- A trade group leader says the Obama administration "is exerting massive pressure"
- A White House spokesman calls the accusation "preposterous and inaccurate"
(CNN) -- White House officials have pressured insurance industry executives to keep quiet amid mounting criticism over Obamacare's rollout, insurance industry sources told CNN.
Sebelius: 'I apologize, I'm accountable' for Obamacare website flaws
After insurance officials publicly criticized the implementation, White House staffers contacted insurers to express their displeasure, industry insiders said.
Multiple sources declined to speak publicly about the push back because they fear retribution.
Can people keep plans under Obamacare?
Keeping Obamacare's promises
Obamacare's messaging problem
But Bob Laszewski, who heads a consulting firm for big insurance companies, did talk on the record.
"The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry, including the trade associations, to keep quiet," he said.
Laszewski, who's been a vocal critic of Obamacare, said he's been asked by insurance executives to speak out because they feel defenseless against an administration that is regulating their business -- and a big customer.
Government-backed plans accounted for about half of health care policies last year, a number that is expected to grow over the years.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the idea that administration officials are trying to silence insurance industry insiders is "preposterous and inaccurate." He added that Laszewski has been a vocal critic of health care reform for two decades.
"Plus, it ignores the fact that every day insurance companies are out talking about the law -- in large part because they are trying to reach millions of new customers who will now have new affordable insurance options available from providers through the new Market Places," Carney said.
Obama and his top advisers have acknowledged problems with the health care website.
On Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was the latest administration official to apologize for the bungled rollout.
Maher: Obama shouldn't have lied
Maher attacks GOP on Obamacare, shutdown
Obamacare: Can you keep your plan?
Yet she and other officials continue to argue that once they are fully up and running, the insurance exchanges will benefit Americans.
But Obama also has been accused of breaking his promise that people who like their current plans can keep them. Insurers have begun discontinuing policies that don't meet Obamacare's beefed up coverage requirements.
Laszewski said insurance company officials are embarrassed that they have to cancel plans and force people into more robust, and possibly more expensive, coverage.
Keep your plan? Maybe not
Insurers, he said, warned the White House that the regulations would lead to discontinued policies.
"One of the things I think is clear here is the Obama administration has no trust in anything the health insurance industry is telling them about how to run a health plan," Laszewski said.
5 things we learned from Tuesday's Obamacare hearing
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
On Tuesday, two U.S. appeals courts issued conflicting rulings on a subject that's important to millions of people: the availability of subsidies to help purchase coverage under the health-care law.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1406 GMT (2206 HKT)
It was a tale of two rulings -- the best of times and the worst of times for Obamacare in the federal appeals courts.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1000 GMT (1800 HKT)
President Barack Obama's poll numbers are nothing to brag about, but there's little evidence he has suffered so far this year a "Katrina moment" that caused his predecessor's numbers to plummet.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1000 GMT (1800 HKT)
More than half the public says Obamacare has helped either their families or others across the country, although less than one in five Americans say they have personally benefited from the health care law, according to a new national poll.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 1201 GMT (2001 HKT)
House Republicans are going forward with plans to sue President Barack Obama and will base their legal case on the sweeping health care law he championed and they despise.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 2013 GMT (0413 HKT)
They tried in Congress, at the ballot box and in the Supreme Court, but Republicans have been unable to stop Obamacare.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0121 GMT (0921 HKT)
The Supreme Court's decision was "sweeping," a "huge blow to the Obama administration," and a "shot in the arm for the evangelical movement," analysts said.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The ruling gives certain companies a right to raise religious objections to providing some types of birth control insurance to their employees leaves a number of important questions in its wake.
October 29, 2013 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Nationally, consumers are learning a number of well-known hospitals won't accept insurance under Obamacare.
December 23, 2013 -- Updated 1816 GMT (0216 HKT)
Open enrollment started October 1. Here's a step-by-step guide to navigating the insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges.
October 19, 2013 -- Updated 0837 GMT (1637 HKT)
Obamacare has survived a Supreme Court appeal, a government shutdown and ongoing challenges by opposing politicians. With few exceptions, every American must have health insurance by March 31 or pay a penalty fee.
September 26, 2013 -- Updated 1444 GMT (2244 HKT)
If you don't know what all those health insurance buzz-words like "co-pay" and "premium" mean, you're not alone.
October 2, 2013 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
Lauren Zanardelli and Graham Foster are the kind of customers the government needs to make Obamacare work.
It's a popular assertion, but is it true? The CNN Politics team hunts down the facts.
Some may offer help navigating the new health insurance marketplace for a fee. Others will warn that you will need a new Medicare card.
September 30, 2013 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Who's in, who's out... and what about the costs? CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks down Obamacare.
Consumers can avoid the exchanges by buying plans directly from insurers or through brokers. But should they?
Here's the first look at insurance premiums on 36 exchanges run by the federal government.
September 25, 2013 -- Updated 1446 GMT (2246 HKT)
If we want to be realistic about health care reform, we have to acknowledge that everything comes with a tradeoff, Dr. Aaron E. Carroll says.
Check out our page with all things you need to know about Obamacare and how it will affect you.