WASHINGTON – President Obama announced Thursday he would offer an administrative “fix” to a provision in the Affordable Care Act — or ObamaCare — that forces millions of Americans to lose their existing health coverage by directing insurance companies to allow affected policy holders to renew their old coverage.
The president said states and insurers can extend current policies canceled under health law for a year.
“I completely get how upsetting this could be for many Americans,” Obama said.
White House officials say a letter going out to state insurance commissioners will specify that current plans sold to existing customers will not be considered out of compliance with the health care law in 2014.
A rash of canceled policies — primarily for people in the individual insurance market, whose plans are now considered sub-optimal under the new health care law’s coverage standards — have prompted public outrage toward Obama and broken promises.
It’s uncertain how the president’s “fix” will affect House Democrats who have been calling for a legislative solution — as the Republicans are offering.
While the administration is granting new flexibility, it remains to be seen if state regulators and insurance companies will exercise the option.
“It won’t solve every problem for every person but it will solve a lot of them,” Obama said.
Obama’s announcement comes as pressure mounts by members of his own party to fix multiple problems associated with his landmark health care law.
House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he was “highly skeptical” the Obama administration would be able to fix the problems with ObamaCare administratively, like the president suggested.
Boehner, a Republican from Ohio, has called ObamaCare, a “rolling calamity that has to be stopped.”
“This is going to destroy the best health care delivery system in the world,” Boehner said moments before the president spoke.
Earlier Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., foreshadowed the president’s announcement. Pelosi has publicly been one of the strongest supporters of ObamaCare.
White House officials are scheduled to meet with the House and Senate Democratic caucuses Thursday afternoon on Capitol Hill. They are expected to meet and strategize over patches to the law.