President Barack Obama on Thursday asked health insurance companies to allow individuals whose current plans have been canceled due to the Affordable Care Act to renew them for a year.
Obama gave a speech in the White House briefing room as a small but growing number of restive congressional Democrats join the Republican chorus that legislation is needed to preserve the policies being eliminated. The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote Friday on a bill sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) that would permit health insurers to extend these health plans. In the Senate, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and others are backing similar bills to address the canceled plans.
“Insurers can extend current plans that otherwise would be canceled into 2014 and Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan,” Obama said. “This fix won’t solve every problem for every person, but it’s going to help a lot of people. Doing more would require work with Congress.”
Obama’s health care reform law has been under siege since its faulty rollout on Oct. 1.HealthCare.gov, the online portal for health insurance shopping in more than 30 states, hasn’t reliably worked during the first month and early enrollment figurescame in well below expectations. In the meantime, between hundreds of thousands and millions of consumers have been notified that their insurance policies don’t meet the health care law’s standards and will be discontinued next year, in violation of Obama’s vow that his law would allow people to keep their current coverage.
“That’s on me,” Obama said. “We fumbled the rollout on this health care law.”
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