White House to Allow Insurers to Continue Canceled Health Plans

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from The Wall Street Journal,

President Barack Obama, in a retreat aimed at quelling the latest protest over his health-care law, on Thursday said insurers can extend by one year those policies they had canceled for failing to meet the law’s requirements.

Mr. Obama accompanied the policy shift with an admission of personal responsibility for the botched launch of the program.

“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law,” Mr. Obama said in a televised White House news conference. “Am I going to have to do some work to rebuild confidence around some of our initiatives? Yeah.”

He added that the troubles had hurt his party: “There is no doubt that our failure to roll out the [health law] smoothly has put a burden on Democrats.”

The president’s support for allowing the insurance plans to continue for existing policyholders essentially shifted responsibility for the cancellations to the insurers.

Millions of people have received cancellation notices from their insurers, who said the policies aren’t compliant with new requirements for coverage and have changed too much since 2010 to be eligible for a “grandfathering” exemption. It remained unclear how many insurers would restore policies they had ended, and some industry officials called Mr. Obama’s reversal unworkable.

The timing of Mr. Obama’s announcement was designed to get ahead of a Friday vote in the House on a Republican bill to alter the law. The White House opposed the legislation, but it was gaining traction among Democrats.

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