(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner and GOP leaders on Tuesday accused the Obama administration of misleading the public on the impact of the Affordable Care Act, which they claim has forced hundreds of thousands of Americans off their preferred health insurance plans.
“The problem with Obamacare isn't just the website; it's the whole law,” Boehner said at a Tuesday morning press conference.
“This is government-run health care because virtually every policy that is sold has to be approved by the government,” he said. “That's why you've got 1.5 million Americans who are -- already gotten these notices that they're going to lose their health coverage because it doesn't meet the minimum standard.”
Some health insurers across the country have begun notifying consumers that their existing plans are being discontinued because they don’t meet minimum requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The notices require those consumers to purchase a different plan, often for a higher premium than was previously paid.
"What the president said and what everybody said all along is that there are going to be changes brought about by the Affordable Care Act to create minimum standards of coverage, minimum services that every insurance plan has to provide," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. “So it's true that there are existing health care plans on the individual market that don't meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act."
President Obama also repeatedly promised in his campaign to enact the health insurance overhaul that, “If you like your insurance plan, you will keep it. No one will be able to take that away from you.”
On Tuesday, House Republicans trained their fire directly at Obama, claiming he deliberately misled Americans with his statements.
“The president knew that these letters were coming,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, holding up a copy of an insurer ‘s letter to one of his constituents. “This is really, really troubling, I believe, for all the American people.
“If the president knew that these letters were coming and still indicated that you could keep your health care plan if you liked it, now, that raises some serious questions the sales job of ‘Obamacare,’” Cantor said.
House Republicans say the termination letters are the latest evidence that the law needs to be delayed and, ultimately, repealed.
“This is a serious impact. This goes beyond the website and beyond, quote-unquote, ‘glitches,’ as we find out there was a glitch in, frankly, openness and honesty to the American people in terms of the fact that you cannot keep your health insurance,” said Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois.
Democrats and the Obama administration argue that changes to some “substandard” health plans, which was not unexpected, will ultimately benefit consumers and does not in any way “take away” their access to health insurance.
Meanwhile, over on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made comments similar to Boehner on Obamacare.
“Fixing a website won’t solve the larger problem here. The larger problem is Obamacare itself,” McConnell said.
Additionally, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the highest ranking Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, called on the president to ask for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign.
“Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic,” Alexander said on the Senate floor. “It is throwing good money after bad.”
“It’s time for her to resign, someone else to take charge. No private-sector chief executive would escape accountability after such a poor performance,” he added.
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