Obama Offers Partial ‘Fix’ To ‘You Can Keep It’ Health Care Promise

With Democrats in revolt over cancellations, an attempt to fulfill pledge that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan"

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Charles Dharapak / AP

President Barack Obama speaks about his signature health care law.

President Barack Obama announced an “administrative fix” Thursday morning to allow Americans with insurance plans that were supposed to disappear under his health care reform law to keep that coverage for another year, responding to a weeks-long maelstrom of cancellation notices that have rattled his presidency.

Obama, speaking at the White House, again acknowledged shortcomings with the problem-plagued Healthcare.gov insurance exchange website, but said the reform law is already showing successes, especially with the expansion of Medicaid coverage.

“I think it’s fair to say that the roll-out has been rough so far,” he said. “There is no question that if the website were working like it’s supposed to, [early enrollment numbers] would be higher.

“We fumbled the roll-out on this health care law,” Obama said bluntly.

The president’s announcement partly corrects his infamous promise that “If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan,” at least for a year. Insurers will be allowed to offer those plans, many of which do not provide comprehensive coverage, to existing customers in the individual market for a year, as long as they educate those re-enrolling about the alternatives in the health care law’s insurance marketplaces.

“I completely get how upsetting [losing insurance] could be for many Americans, especially after they heard assurances from me,” Obama said. “We’re going to do everything we can to help Americans who are receiving these cancellation notices.”

“There is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate,” Obama added. “My working assumption was that the majority of those folks would find better policies and lower costs or the same costs in the marketplaces.”

Before Obama spoke, a senior White House official said that “insurers can offer customers the option to renew their 2013 plan in 2014 without change, allowing these people to keep their plans.”

According to senior White House officials, the regulatory solution would remove the need for legislative action that is being pushed by both parties on Capitol Hill. One bill, offered by Republican Rep. Fred Upton, would allow those less comprehensive plans to be sold to new customers. The officials said such a plan “would undermine the Affordable Care Act and the marketplaces.” The White House has been skeptical of any legislative solution, which would quickly become a Christmas tree for amendments to undermine the bill.

“I will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the law,” Obama said.

House Speaker John Boehner said what Obama offered “little more than a political response designed to shift blame rather than solve the problem.”

“After finally acknowledging he repeatedly misled the American people to sell his health care law, the president is asking Americans to trust him again,” Boehner said in a statement. “The President has absolutely no credibility on his promise.”

The health insurance industry quickly warned that the administration’s fix could have unintended consequences.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” Karen Ignagni, president of the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement. “Premiums have already been set for next year based on an assumption of when consumers will be transitioning to the new marketplace. If due to these changes fewer younger and healthier people choose to purchase coverage in the exchange, premiums will increase in the marketplace and there will be fewer choices for consumers.”

The White House shift follows a revolt among congressional Democrats over the law’s rocky implementation, one year before the midterm elections. Officials acknowledged that Obama directed the change in response to public outcry over millions of cancellation notices received by Americans in the individual market, saying the change was designed to further “a better and smoother transition” for them onto the exchanges.

But the administration fix is not an absolute fulfillment of Obama’s promise. It  doesn’t require state regulators to allow the continuation of the plans, and simply allowing insurers to continue offering 2013 plans does not mean they will. Insurers have already sent letters to millions of Americans in the individual market, canceling plans. They now presumably have the option of reversing course. But this is a paperwork nightmare and could be very confusing for consumers. Some may have already selected new plans on Obamacare’s insurance exchanges to replace policies they thought were disappearing. Whether these selections can now be reversed is still not clear.

The other risk of allowing insurers to continue underwritten 2013 plans is that doing so could skew the risk pool of Americans shopping for ACA-compliant policies in the exchanges. Obamacare requires new plans to accept all comers, regardless of health or preexisting conditions. Young and health consumers shopping in the individual market will generally pay more through the ACA-regulated exchanges than under the old system. Likewise, older and sicker consumers will pay less through the exchanges. This could lead to adverse selection. If the exchanges only attract the sickest consumers and the healthiest ones stay out — at least for one year — that could drive premiums up in 2015, as insurers try to recover money they lost by setting 2014 premiums on the assumption they would have a diverse risk pool. The White House officials said they do not believe the delay would adversely impact the makeup of the exchanges.

Either way, next year Americans with these plans will find themselves in the same situation, unless the administration makes this “fix” all over again.

63 comments
AdrianBroma
AdrianBroma

Tax the people, bail out the banksters, knowingly force insurers to drop plans in order to tax the people more in support of the federal reserves failing dollar, then offer no apologies to those who put the Obamanator in a position to help and serve the people. Obama is actually worse than Bush Jr. in expanding upon privacy infringment and should be brought up on crimes of high treason in his strategic dismantling of the constitution. Evil.

grape_crush
grape_crush

This may be the worst thing Obama could have done, and in their calls to legislate a solution to the problem of insurers canceling people's plans, Dems might be shooting themselves in the foot right before midterms:

"Undermining Obamacare in order to placate angry individual-insurance holders makes no sense even on narrow political terms. People losing individual insurance they like are angry right now, but they’re a tiny minority of the market, and their anger will fade over time as the exchanges come online. Higher premiums would affect far more people, and their impact would be felt much closer to the midterm elections. Imagine it's next year, insurers are pulling out of the exchanges, rates are rising, all because of a law Congress hastily passed the year before — is that a better situation?"

So, in order to alleviate a problem now, they may be creating a larger one for themselves in the future.

firmsoil
firmsoil

Ironically having an insurance that you liked has became the pre-existing condition that makes Obamacare drop your coverage!

cocomom
cocomom

When Americans like me said Obama was wrong , inaccurate or just plain untruthful when he insisted "if you like your plan, you keep your plan.." we were called haters, racists, obstructionist, etc.. Time has proved us right, everyone who was paying attention (and read some of the 1200+ pages)  knew it wasn't true. It wasn't true then & it's not now. Obama & Co would say anything to get this monstrosity passed. He is inept, incompetent and unfit for office.

firmsoil
firmsoil

The lie has now morphed into "If you like your plan, you can keep it (for 1 year, because I say so, for now!)"

AsokSmith
AsokSmith

So, apparently Obama can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, no matter what the Congressional  law says? Don't dictators do that?

Still, Obama will just do what Obama does until he is challenged in court, which no one has the cojones to do.

What I REALLY want to know is why Obama is allowing these "rotten apple insurance" companies to continue their supposed "substandard" and "garbage" policies.

The OTHER thing I'd really like to know is if this is all the greedy insurance companies fault for cancelling these "substandard" and "garbage" policies, then why is it REQUIRED that Obama ALLOW them to reinstate them?

BTW, anybody that's been paying attention knows there's simply no way these "inferior" policies can be "re-instated", especially before 1/1/2014. This is simply another desperation patch being put on a fundamentally unworkable  program because the public is getting its first glimpse of what Obamacare is really all about, and they are NOT liking it!
 
There will be more and more of these patches each and every time the public finds out the next horrible thing about Obamacare, and every patch is simply going to  make the whole thing more and more unworkable, until eventually the whole thing comes crashing down like a house of cards.

Really, the only real solution is to repeal Obamacare and start over with REAL health care reform, not some socialist  redistribution scheme disguised as health care reform.

ShamsAci
ShamsAci

REALITY LIFE AWARENESS WELFARE (RLAW):     Obama Offers Partial ‘Fix’ To ‘You Can Keep It’ Health Care Promise


COMMENT - CONCERN - OPINION - SAY = REFLECTION:

________     ________      _______   ___    ___________

An excellent ruler wouldn't just promise to do tlhis or that for humanitarian causes, rather he or she would perform that virtuous deed forthwith on his or her legislators' conscent and approval and be credited autometically by the people.

____________________________________________

- A.R.Shams's Reflection - Press / Online Publications - Moral Messages Worldwide



jmac
jmac

Boehner:   "Remember the strategy for stopping Obamacare we laid out to you back in July. It had two components: Aggressive, coordinated oversight, and targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation. That plan is being executed as we speak." 

ViableOp
ViableOp

Flip.  Flop.  Flip.   Flop

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

 Rant
The point of ObamaCare has always been to drive down cost across the board but this only works when we have almost everyone or the majority of people insured especially the over 40million who don’t have insurance in the first place. Now the moral reason of Obamacare is to give everyone a chance at affordable insurance and not have money or insurance dictate if you live or die! Is this not something any sane good person would want?  Fact is it’s only been 30days since this started and if you listen to the mainstream media you would think we been doing this for years! It annoys me how they are focused on the people who are able to afford insurance and are not talking about the 100,000 who now have insurance! Seriously in 30days we already have this amount of people signed up with another million in the application process and this is bad news? Or is there some hidden campaign by those who sadly have to take time to find themselves new care because, they we’re bounced off their plans due to the president not wanting you to get jobbed by the insurance. These people number less than 5% and it seems the media and all who hate ObamaCare are fighting for them instead of sharing stories of  those people who now are getting insurance coverage for the first time in their lives and don’t have to worry about connecting their well-being to wealth. Some people in this country hate change even if it’s change for the better so are we going to continue to allow them to dictate the message or are we going to take control of the message and fight for those who don’t have a voice!  Remember all those in the media and talking negative have insurance and are doing pretty good in life.

RicardoRivera
RicardoRivera

I always prefer a president who finds solutions and not pointing fingers!

jenniferwriter
jenniferwriter

@cocomom Blah, blah, blah. What's your plan to fix our broken system - we  have the most expensive healthcare with the 37th worst outcomes and leave 50 million uncovered. Yes, that was working great........

ElW
ElW

@firmsoil  

95% (or close to it) are keeping their plans as of now, and a percentage of the other 5% will have to change plans. From my own experience, I know that my health coverage was  not really adequate, as is the case with millions of others, and Americans have been penalized for decades having to pay more money (taxes) for the emergency medical care of people with insufficient health insurance.

Do not confuse this with Bush's "no new taxes" pledge / lie in 1988, which was then followed by vast numbers of Americans having to pay more in taxes. 


And do not absolve insurance companies and lobbyists for their role in plans being cancelled.  Other mandates in history such as vaccination coverage didn't lead to millions having their policies voided.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@AsokSmith


What you don’t get is that throwing around words like “socialist” doesn’t work, except to make fellow reich wingers foam at the mouth. No one is listening, because you aren’t a serious person.The ACA is a plan that originated with a conservative think tank (The Heritage Foundation) quite some years ago. I guess you consider Medicare socialism. Try to find any Tea Party people over 65 who would agree with you. Medicare for all, and give current insurance companies the option of  only administering the plan (push the paper) if need be, albeit with strict guidelines – problem solved.  If they choose not to, then so what? They really aren’t needed anyway. Big and small companies should be free to unshackle themselves from the insurance market. Healthcare is a unique product, and hence shouldn’t be part of the free market like a loaf of bread or a package of Velveeta.

tom.litton
tom.litton

"So, apparently Obama can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, no matter what the Congressional  law says? Don't dictators do that?"

No dictators gain authority through their military.  Obama has been granted this authority by congress, through the ACA law itself.  The law allows his administration to regulate the standards of health care plans. 

 "What I REALLY want to know is why Obama is allowing these "rotten apple insurance" companies to continue their supposed "substandard" and "garbage" policies."

For political reasons.  People were upset that these policies were being cancelled and replaced with better ones.   This is how democracy is suppose to function.  

"The OTHER thing I'd really like to know is if this is all the greedy insurance companies fault for cancelling these "substandard" and "garbage" policies, then why is it REQUIRED that Obama ALLOW them to reinstate them?"

It isn't necessarily the insurance companies fault.  These didn't meet the standards as determined by his administration.  It isn't required.  In fact, it's better in the long run, because it doesn't allow people to defraud the system by lets say not get Maternity coverage until they get pregnant.

Any real health care reform is going to have some way of redistributing resources.  Most of those that need health insurance are poor.  There isn't any way of avoiding it, unless you kill off the poor people by denying them health care.  (FYI i don't consider that real health care reform).

 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@AsokSmith And when we start over with REAL health care reform, the Republicans in the Senate won't filibuster it because it's "socialist"?  That's why we have Obamacare in the first place Asok, Republicans filibustered or just voted against EVERY other option put forward by Democrats. 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@ViableOp No...more like wait....make a decision....wait...make a decision. Seems to work better than Bush's "we have to go to war NOW!!" method of governing. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@RicardoRivera It also helps long winded if the systems computers would work, then maybe the american people will get the real answers and results.

reallife
reallife

@RicardoRivera "The point of ObamaCare has always been to drive down cost across the board... blah blah blah..."

wrong again libtard

the point of obamacare is to expand the power of government, that's all

think again, this is America, land of the "FREE"





Openminded1
Openminded1

@RicardoRivera hey riki, what the hell do you really know about presidents, you have not been around long enough to know to much. are you a lib from Florida? you look like a guy i know, he was not to smart either.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@jenniferwriter @cocomom 


The ACA  has been a GOP Lite plan all along. Guys like cocommon are like their fellow travelers in the House - they don't have a plan. The free market isn't the solution to everyone having an equal access to the best care possible. For those reich wingers who don't believe everyone is entitled to the same level of care, then please explain to us all why some lives are worth more than others?

firmsoil
firmsoil

@ElW

Why lie so blatantly?

Official Obama Administration Record: www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2010-06-17/pdf/2010-14488.pdf

"Under this assumption, the Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013. The low-end estimates are for 49 percent and 34 percent of small and large employer plans, respectively, to have relinquished grandfather status, and the high-end estimates are 80 percent and 64 percent, respectively."

United States Federal Register/ Vol. 75, No. 116 / Thursday, June 17, 2010 / Rules and Regulations Page 34552-34553


TABLE 3—ESTIMATES OF THE CUMULATIVE PERCENTAGE OF EMPLOYER PLANS RELINQUISHING THEIR GRANDFATHERED STATUS, 2011–2013

barneydidit
barneydidit

@reallife Yes, free to die because you developed a pre-existing condition while you were unemployed reallife. No thanks, don't need that much freedom. 

jenniferwriter
jenniferwriter

@reallife @RicardoRivera Huh, so he created the most expensive healthcare system in the world with the 37th worst outcomes and that left 50 million people uncovered. I didn't realize that.....

barneydidit
barneydidit

@reallife @RicardoRivera No...Republicans cause the problem in the first place by refusing to budge from their "anything other than tax cuts and vouchers is Marxist" stance when we were trying to pass health care reform. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@tommyudo @Openminded1 The difference Tommy is you are new to posting on here, I am not, my rhetoric  has been the same for a long time, i can also back it up with years of experience in life and as a 30 year police veteran, now retired, also as a vietnam  vet. You sonny are still wet behind the ears, little lib boy.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@tommyudo @Openminded1 So you are from Korea and a lesbian and have a hair lip and in a wheel chair, not much of a social life, with those issues.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@tommyudo @Openminded1 Ps moron i raised my college educated kids and have been married 35 years, I took care of more then myself. what have you accomplished ? I also doubt you are even 30 years old let alone worked for 30 years. my years were spent on the streets of a major city putting away dirt bags and thugs. how about you ?

Openminded1
Openminded1

@tommyudo @Openminded1 Dummy I have over 5000 post on here, i have been black since i started on here and for the 63 years. just like Obama, half black and white, but I like both  my black and white side not like him he only braces is blackness. You are just not use to a real amn who is black going against the black grain and saying it like it is. Your problem race card black not mine.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@Openminded1 


LOL, if you are black then I'm a wheel chair bound  Korean lesbian with a harelip. You can be anything you want on these boards and who would know. What you are is an unmitigated liar. Oh, and btw, I've worked fulltime for more than 30 years and have never collected any type of welfare. So what? Taking care of yourself  doesn't deseve a standing ovation.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@tommyudo @jenniferwriter they have not destroyed me dummy and I am black, maybe because I worked for over 30 years and did not collect welfare.

tommyudo
tommyudo

@jenniferwriter


You make too much sense. Are you sure you belong here? The reich wingers don't have a plan to provide everyone with accessible and equal quality healthcare. All they want is to destroy the Black Guy. This has been the plan since Jan 2009.

jenniferwriter
jenniferwriter

@Openminded1 @jason024 @jenniferwriter @cocomom Typical teabilly - Ize got mine - the rest of yoz is screwed!!!! What a goober. 


Guess what, I have good coverage - that doesn't mean I want my fellow citizens who can't afford coverage to go without. I am not a Christian, but I bet you think you are - well, at least you're good at thumpin' a bible - reading it? Meh,  not so much.

jenniferwriter
jenniferwriter

@Openminded1 @jenniferwriter @cocomom Openminded, my ass. The solution - simple: Do what every civilized first-world nation already does - provide single-payer coverage for everyone, pre-birth to grave at half of what we're spending. Why do you teabillies want to make this so hard? 

jason024
jason024

@Openminded1 @jenniferwriter @cocomom 

The ACA is still part of the the solution....messaging was a problem along with  the website. Some Americans were going to lose their plans and eventually have to come to terms with that.

 What is your solution? Let me guess you can't afford it so no ER for you!

tommyudo
tommyudo

@Openminded1 @tommyudo @jenniferwriter @cocomom 


I could give a damn what Obama's legacy is. You righties are the ones with your goose stepping hero worship. The Right still doesn't have a solution other than tell those without insurance to "go die somewhere else, " or buy insurance across state lines, tort reform, blah, blah, etc.etc.