White House proposes insurance fix

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The White House is proffering a healthcare reform compromise: allow consumers to hang on to insurance policies that do not meet the mandated upgrades. President Obama announced the initiative Thursday. The strategy is a backstop to the uproar over the perceived dissonance between the president's prior claim that healthcare reform would not force consumers to change their plans. The then-policy applied to plans that remained static between 2010 and 2013: if the plan changed and failed to meet healthcare reform coverage requirements, it could no longer be offered.

In credit card promotions and frequent-flier mile programs, this would be considered a fine-print issue, in that the text was there, but it wasn't being highlighted. The dismay however, is only striking now, as consumers have come to realize that they were not able to hold on to their policies, fueling anti-reform anger and threatening to weaken pro-reform support.

Thursday's proposal would allow subscribers to continue with sub-requirement policies. Unlike a Republican proposal set to be debated in the House Friday, the administration's proposal would not allow these same insurance plans to take on new subscribers.

“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked they could keep it. And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem. And today I'm offering an idea that will help do it,” Obama said Thursday.

The president acknowledged that the proposal is not going to please everyone, but said dissatisfaction is not a reason to overturn the law.

“It is important to understand, though, that the old individual market was not working well. And it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to,” he said.

House speaker John Boehner said he doubts the change can be implemented, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Ohio republican decried the announcement on his website as “little more than a political response designed to shift blame rather than solve the problem.”

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