Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Obama Offers 'Fix'

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Obama Offers 'Fix'

Article excerpt

PRESIDENT OBAMA tried to sound presidential Thursday as he stood before the media -- and the American people -- to answer questions about the problematic rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The president was calm and confident. He said the right things, reassuring Americans about the future workings of the new law.

And yet, as myriad problems with the health care overhaul have made abundantly clear over the last month, simply saying it does not make it so. Indeed, we wish we could be as certain about the efficacy of the law as the president seems to be.

Obama acknowledged that "we fumbled the rollout of this health care law," but he said he would not give up, and would "just keep on chipping away at this until the job is done." The president pitched what's been termed an "administrative fix" to deal with one of the law's most unpopular features: the forced change of insurance policies for people with individual plans who were led to believe they could keep existing plans under the new law.

That, as millions of Americans have rudely discovered, has not been the case. The president's "fix" will give insurance companies the option, but not require them, to keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be canceled under the new law's stricter standards. The change will be good for up to a year.

The move represents the administration's first retreat on a major plank of the law, as the new law faces withering criticism from both sides of the political aisle and as polls show Obama's approval ratings taking a major dip. Many congressional Democrats, particularly those in the Senate facing tough reelection battles next year, appear to be getting nervous about the failures of the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the president was preempted in his remarks by Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who expressed verbally what millions of Americans must now be thinking, that maybe it's time to "scrap this plan once and for all."

We are not ready to go that far. …

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