Barack Obama

President Obama during prepared remarks this morning suggested a fix to Obamacare as his administration is reeling from the news that far more people lost health coverage because of Obamacare than enrolled in it:

Now, as I indicated earlier, I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked, they could keep it.  And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear.  I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem.  And today I’m offering an idea that will help do it.

Already, people who have plans that predate the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed.  That was already in the law.  That’s what’s called a grandfather clause.  It was included in the law.  Today, we’re going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law took effect, and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.

So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states.  But the bottom line is, insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014, and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.

We’re also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things.  One, that protections — what protections these renewed plans don’t include.  And number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost.

So if you’ve received one of these letters, I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace.  Even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse costs for new plans near you is working just fine.

Now, this fix won’t solve every problem for every person.  But it’s going to help a lot of people.  Doing more will require work with Congress.  And I’ve said from the beginning, I’m willing to work with Democrats and Republicans to fix problems as they arise.  This is an example of what I was talking about.  We can always make this law work better.

It is important to understand, though, that the old individual market was not working well.  And it’s important that we don’t pretend that somehow that’s a place worth going back to.  Too often, it works fine as long as you stay healthy; it doesn’t work well when you’re sick.  So year after year, Americans were routinely exposed to financial ruin, or denied coverage due to minor preexisting conditions, or dropped from coverage altogether — even if they paid their premiums on time.

The insurance industry was not impressed Buzzfeed reports:  “This doesn’t change anything other than force insurers to be the political flack jackets for the administration,” said an industry insider. “So now when we don’t offer these policies the White House can say it’s the insurers doing this and not being flexible.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus critiqued his plan to fix the problem as unconstitutional. ““The President has a serious trust deficit with the American people after his lies about ObamaCare. He rushed a partisan bill through Congress, lied in selling it to the public, and the result is his administration’s bungled rollout that is causing chaos and hurting Americans. At this point, more Americans received cancellation notices in the single state of North Carolina than were able to sign up nationwide,” Priebus said.

“There can be no question now that ObamaCare is broken. The President seems to believe that he can rewrite the law whenever it’s politically expedient, but our Constitution says otherwise. I’d encourage the President to listen to frustrated Americans who are telling him that ObamaCare needs to be repealed and replaced with conservative solutions that will actually lower costs and fix the mess he has created,” Priebus added.

Iowa Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sam Clovis also responded to the President’s remarks.  “Like President Obama, Rep. Bruce Braley is panicking as Obamacare collapses. I, like a majority of Iowans, have seen the train wreck this failing law would produce for years; however liberals like Rep. Braley have refused to listen to us and hard-working Americans have paid the price. Now, as Democrats see political fallout ensuing, career politicians like Rep. Bruce Braley want to “fix” Obamacare in order to protect their own paychecks.” Clovis stated.  “What he needs to learn is that one can’t “fix” the mountains of new taxes and fees, the removal of personal liberties, and the disastrous effects Obamacare is already causing millions of Americans. The only “fix” is to fully repeal the failing law and apply free market principles to reform healthcare in this country.”

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