Obama: ‘This Fix Won’t Solve Every Problem For Every Person’
WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — President Barack Obama announced Thursday that Americans will be able to keep their canceled health care policies, at least for another year.
Obama said that insurers can continue the sale of canceled policies into 2014.
“Today we’re going to extend that principle to those people whose plans have changed since the law took effect,” Obama said.
The administration’s one-year plan is to let insurers continue to offer plans that had been canceled because they did not meet coverage standards under the health care law.
Insurance companies must also notify policyholders that alternatives exist under Obama’s health care program, and have to describe the areas in which their own plans fall short of coverage requirements in the law.
Obama noted that this won’t fix everything.
“This fix won’t solve every problem for every person, but it will help a lot of people,” Obama said.
The president believed that the grandfather clause about people keeping their current plans before the Affordable Care Act took effect would work.
“I think that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate,” Obama said, referring to previously saying that people would not lose their health plans under the law. “It wasn’t because of my intention not to, we put a grandfather clause into the law but it was inefficient.”
CBS News reports that 4.8 million Americans are losing their health insurance due to Obamacare.
Obama said the administration should have done a better job since day one with the rollout of the health care law.
“We fumbled the rollout on this health care law,” Obama said.
Being questioned by CBS News’ Major Garrett about a report the administration knew that the federal health care exchange website would not be up to par for the Oct. 1 launch, Obama said he did not know HealthCare.gov would not be working.
“I was not informed directly the website would not be working the way it was supposed to,” Obama said.
Obama added that he didn’t feel he was “stupid enough to say” that navigating the site would be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity if he didn’t think the website would work.
The president revealed that the administration underestimated how complicated it would be for Americans to buy insurance online.
“What we’re discovering is that part of the problem has been technology … but even if we get the hardware and software working exactly like it’s supposed to with relatively minor glitches, we’re also discovering insurance is complicated to buy,” Obama said.
He continued: “Buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on iTunes.”
Obama admitted that the clunky rollout of Obamacare has hurt Democrats.
“There is no doubt our failure to roll out the ACA smoothly has put a burden on Democrats, whether they are running or not,” Obama said. “I feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them, rather than easier for them, to continue to promote the core values that led them to support this thing in the first place.”
The president tried to remind Americans that the status quo wasn’t working.
“We can’t lose sight of the status quo before the Affordable Care Act wasn’t working at all,” Obama said. “I make no apologies for taking this on. Somebody had to do it.”
An insurance industry official tells CBS News that there could be a flaw with Obama’s fix-it plan.
According to CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, the official stated that the president is now asking insurance providers to reinstate plans that don’t exist.
The official told CBS News that they are now being asked to take “heat” off the president for the administration’s botched rollout despite providers abiding by Obamacare requirements.
The announcement comes a day after the White House announced dismal enrollment numbers for Obamacare.
The 106,185 people who made it all the way through to selecting a plan represent just 1.5 percent of the 7 million people the administration hopes to enroll by next year.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said things will get better, and quickly.
“There is no doubt the level of interest is strong,” she said.
Sebelius added: “The marketplace is working. People are enrolling.”
Sebelius did not state how many of those have enrolled have actually paid yet. Payments do not need to be received until Dec. 15.
States running their own websites did report more than 79,000 sign-ups.
Under 27,000 Americans were able to enroll through the federal website HealthCare.gov, which has seen its fair share of problems since its Oct. 1 launch.
Obama apologized last week in an interview with NBC News for Americans having their current policies cancelled, despite him previously saying no one would lose their current health insurance under his signature health care law.
House Speaker John Boehner said the Wednesday report the White House released is a “calamity.”
“Above all, this report is a symbol of the failure of the president’s health care law,” Boehner said in a statement. “It is a rolling calamity that must be scrapped.”
Boehner said Wednesday, “We simply can’t trust this White House.”
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