President Barack Obama’s administration caved Thursday morning after ever-increasing dissent from within the Democratic party: the White House will change Obamacare regulations so that individuals losing their existing health insurance coverage to keep it for another year, even if existing plans don't conform to the healthcare law’s requirements. Rather than forcing people to get a new plan, the new regulations would instead only require the insurance providers to explain alternative options to customers, and detail what benefits they are not getting by staying on their old plans. New subscribers will still be ineligible for old plans.
Obama made an announcement about the new changes Thursday afternoon. "We fumbled the rollout [of the healthcare law]," Obama admitted during a press conference. "Insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014," he said, adding that further changes could be made legislatively as the need for them arises. "Americans whose plans have been canceled can choose to re-enroll."
The change comes after Democratic senators Mary Landrieu and Mark Udall already introduced bills that would allow consumers to keep their existing healthcare if they are satisfied with it, and just a day ahead of a House of Representatives vote on a similar bill. Of course, because congress is congress — and because voters hate congress as it is — some legislators are promising to go ahead with a vote on a bill to grandfather in old health insurance policies even if Obama issues an administrative order.
"[M]embers of Congress aren't judged by administrative fixes, they’re judged by their voting records," said congressman Mike Doyle. "And people want to be on the record that we made a commitment to the American people that they could keep their insurance if they like it, and we want to fix that."
The only ones even less happy than congress are insurance executives. "This doesn’t change anything other than force insurers to be the political flack jackets for the administration," an industry insider told Buzzfeed. "So now when we don’t offer these policies the White House can say it’s the insurers doing this and not being flexible."
Watch a clip of his announcement below: