Obama's healthcare patch: President will tweak law to allow insurers to renew canceled plans.

President Obama's Healthcare Patch Will Allow Insurers to Renew Canceled Plans

President Obama's Healthcare Patch Will Allow Insurers to Renew Canceled Plans

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Nov. 14 2013 10:56 AM

President Obama's Healthcare Patch Will Allow Insurers to Renew Canceled Plans

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President Obama is expected to speak later this morning about the change

Photo by Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The big news from President Obama's afternoon press conference on the healthcare roll-out, via the New York Times:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

President Obama bowed to mounting political pressure from across the country and on Capitol Hill on Thursday, announcing new rules that will let insurance companies keep people on health care plans that would not have been allowed under the Affordable Care Act.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, Mr. Obama said the changes should allow most people to retain their health care plans for a year despite having received letters saying they could no longer keep their insurance. “Insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be canceled into 2014,” Mr. Obama said. “This fix won’t solve every problem for every person, but it is going to help of lot of people.”
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Of course, allowing insurers to renew the plans in question doesn't require them to. So it's quite possible that even with this administrative patch things won't change for many of those people who have received cancellations notices. (The optics of who's to blame for any such cancellations, however...)

The president's proposed patch would only apply to those people who have had their existing policies canceled. Those of you currently without insurance wouldn't be able to buy these old plans. The fix is an administrative one, and appears aimed at allaying the fears of nervous Democrats but also at draining the momentum from potential legislative fixes currently floating around both the House and the Senate.

We'll have more on the news later, but for now you can check out Weigel's dispatch from this morning about how congressional Democrats are fretting about Obamacare's failure when the only real cure is to wait; and Yglesias' great explanation from yesterday on why you should actually be happy if your coverage got canceled.

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This post has been updated.