You Can Keep Your Health Insurance Plan — But What Else Are You Losing?

Bowing to pressure, President Barack Obama said Thursday he will permit continued sale of individual insurance plans that have been canceled because they failed to meet coverage standards under the health care law. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

In this afternoon’s press conference on President Obama’s “fix” to the Affordable Care Act, we saw the President playing politics. Nothing more, nothing less.

After pressure from President Bill Clinton, members of his own party, relentless attacks from Republicans and the threat of Congressman Fred Upton’s bill, which was scheduled to hit the House floor tomorrow, the President was left no choice but to retreat.

Obama announced that Americans would now be able to keep their healthcare plan if they’re happy with it, but only for an additional year. It was only a week ago today that the President was apologizing for misleading the American public on this very issue. And although Obama appeared more contrite today than ever before, there are many who still feel – and are right to – that he has not adequately addressed the significance of his having misled Americans for more than two years.

To be sure, the 3.5 million people who received letters canceling their plans will no doubt be relieved; they have another year to shop the marketplace for a plan that will be, inevitably, more expensive.

But in many ways, the President’s press conference answered fewer questions than it raised.

We may know that Americans can keep their plans if they like them, but will the insurance companies actually offer the policies that have been canceled? And what will the impact of changing this key provision be on the federal exchanges? Furthermore, we have little idea as to what this change will mean for ObamaCare more generally.

In all my time working in politics, there has never been such a poorly articulated and explained piece of major, sweeping legislation. As I have argued since the rollout began, it does no one any good to continue to politicize the issue: ObamaCare is the law of the land and everyone must adjust, including House Speaker Boehner, who once again called for the repeal of the law in his weekly press conference this morning.

President Obama and his team needs to make sure that Americans really understand this law and what it means for them and their insurance options. If that requires bringing in the “Explainer-in-Chief,” Bill Clinton, again then so be it. The White House can’t afford another week like the one they just had. By botching it so badly at every turn, they are not even giving Americans the chance to decide if they actually like ObamaCare or not. And that is the true failure.