Re-committing to one of his most-cited promises about Obamacare, President Barack Obama announced a plan Tuesday that will allow people to keep their existing policies under the Affordable Care Act.
“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after a lot of assurances they heard from me,” Obama said during a White House briefing. “Insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled in 2014.”
The fix applies to those who have received cancellation notices for plans that do not meet new government regulations. It would also allow those who have found new insurance to revert back.
The decision on whether to renew those plans, however, will be left up to the insurance companies — on two conditions. Providers must inform customers of what the policies do not include, as well as other options available in the new marketplace.
The unexpected news that many Americans would lose their current insurance contradicted Obama’s earlier promise that Americans could keep their plans if they liked them. It also created one of the biggest PR messes of the program’s rollout.
Obama owned up to the error.
“My working assumption was a majority of those folks would find better policies at lower cost or the same cost in the marketplaces, and that the universe of folks who would potentially not find better deal in marketplace, the grandfather clause would work for them,” Obama said. “It didn’t. And that’s on us.”
But he also encouraged customers to consider other options.
“I’d encourage you to look at the new marketplace,” Obama said. “This fix won’t solve ever problem for every person, but it’s going to help a lot of people.”
Obama said he is willing to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress on further fixes, but said he “will not accept proposals that are just another brazen attempt to undermine or repeal the law.”
“I am confident that by the time we look back on this next year, people are going to say this is working well and it’s helping a lot of people,” Obama said. “We’re just going to keep on chipping away on this, until the job is done.”