President Barack Obama, facing the threats of Democrats withdrawing their support on key elements of his signature healthcare reform law, announced today that he will keep the promise he made to the country: Individuals won't lose their existing insurance under the Affordable Care Act--at least for another year.
Obama announced shortly after noon today that he will delay the key aspect of the ACA by one year. This means that insurance companies that sent cancellation notices to an estimated two million Americans in the last few weeks may reinstate the policies.
Americans that paid for plans prior to the Affordable Care Act may choose to keep coverage that didn't change for another year, he said. Furthermore, he announced that they can also keep plans that don't meet all the requirements of the law, such as prescription drug coverage, that were purchased since the law took effect.
Obama admitted he is unhappy with what he described as a "rough" roll-out of the law, but he said that in the six weeks since the HealthCare.gov website launch, 106,000 individuals successfully signed up for insurance and another million have registered but have yet to select a policy.
But he said important aspects of the law are working. The bottom line, he said, is that "more than 500,000 Americans could know the security of healthcare in January. Many of them for the first time in their lives."
The President's announcement was made in the wake of a harsh closed-door meeting Wednesday in which House Democrats discussed the administration's handling of the ACA rollout and botched website launch, according to Politico.
During that meeting, Democrats blamed the White House for failing to ensure that Americans will be able to keep their existing health insurance plans as promised and don't believe the administration will meet its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to fix the troubled HealthCare.gov website.
In fact, as of Wednesday, six Democrats had officially thrown their support behind Senator Mary Landreiu's legislation that would allow individuals to keep their health policies for another year and abolish fines for not signing up for policies offered through the federal insurance exchange, the Washington Post reports.
Meanwhile, the latest Gallup poll shows a majority of Americans (55 percent) now disapprove of the healthcare law.
Support for healthcare reform has waned in the past month amid the problems with HealthCare.gov and new reports that the online portal is subject to constant security threats. In fact, one month prior to the launch of HealthCare.gov, a government official warned of a limitless security threat that would expose insurance buyers to identify theft, according to WND.
The memo, which said "the threat and risk potential (to the system) is limitless," was written by Chief Information Officer Tony Trenkle, who retired from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last week, WND reported.
Meanwhile, NBCNews reports that since the website's launch there have been an estimated 16 cyberattacks on the HealthCare.gov website and one "denial of service" attack that was unsuccessful. Roberta Stempfley, acting assistant secretary of homeland security's Office of Cybersecurity and Communications, made the admission during testimony at a hearing on Wednesday, according to the article.