President Obama has apologized for the wave of cancellation letters mailed to potentially millions of Americans, many of whom don’t want to their individual health plans to end despite slim medical coverage in many cases.
Obama’s apology in an NBC News interview Thursday dominates the headlines.
But the president also said his administration is pushing to close “some of the holes and gaps in the law” (Affordable Care Act) through which many are losing their current policies.
“Even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them,” President Obama told NBC News. “And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me.”
Obama said that his administration is “looking at a range of options.”
Obama: “But the one thing I want to emphasize…is everybody is acting as if the existing market was working. And the fact of the matter is that a whole lot of people who were in this individual market, who were buying health care on their own, because they’re not getting it through their employer, they might be happy with it this year. And then suddenly next year, the cost got jacked up by 15 percent-20 percent.”
Here’s Obama’s reasoning behind the cancellation letters:
“A lot of these plans are subpar plans. And we put in a clause in the law that said if you had one of those plans, even if it was subpar — when the law was passed, you could keep it. But there’s enough churn in the market that folks since then have bought subpar plans. And now that may be all they can afford. So even though it only affects a small amount of the population, you know, it means a lot to them, obviously, when they get…this letter cancelled.”
Obama said he is confident that the functionality issues with the online marketplace at healthcare.gov would be fixed by November 30th.
“The majority of people are gonna be able to get on there,” Obama said. “They’re gonna be able to enroll. They’re gonna be able to apply. And they’re gonna get a good deal — a better deal than they’ve got right now when it comes to buyin’ health insurance.”