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Obama changes signature healthcare plan after public backlash

Facing public outrage over his signature ‘Affordable care act’, US President Barack Obama announced major changes in the healthcare plan that will allow millions of Americans who were about to lose their cover to keep it for one more year.

The disastrous launch of Obamacare forced the president to change  his stance on the “Affordable care act.” Only slightly more than  106 thousand Americans have so far obtained insurance under the  new healthcare law, according to official data from the  Department of Health and Human Services released on Wednesday.  Meanwhile, about five million people received notices that their  preexisting plans will be cancelled soon and they will have to  pay higher premiums to obtain new insurance, Forbes reports.
Only last week, Obama denied that he had ever promised Americans that the  majority of them will be able to keep their healthcare plans  without changes. But after the media showed multiple videos of  the president saying just that, his popularity sunk to an  all-time low.

For the first time, the majority of Americans called their president ‘untrustworthy and dishonest’  and even members of his own party urged Obama to respect his  promises. In particular, former president Bill Clinton said on  Tuesday in an interview at OZY.com that “The president should  honor the commitment the federal government made to those people  and let them keep what they’ve got.”

Speaking on Thursday, Obama unveiled a one-year plan to allow  insurers to keep selling existing plans that are about to be  cancelled due to the law’s minimum benefits requirements.

Additionally, insurance companies will be required to explain to  their policyholders that the Affordable Care Act offers  alternative plans for them. Companies will also have to explain  where their existing plans lack the benefits outlined by the law.

The one-year plan will notably end after the 2014 mid-term  elections, raising questions about whether or not insurance  companies would have to cancel existing cover then, or if  Americans could keep them past the one-year mark.

Speaker of the House, John Boehner, responded to Obama’s proposed  fixes with skepticism, saying he doubts the president can address  problems with the law administratively. Boehner added that the  ACA should be repealed entirely.

“I am highly skeptical that they can do this  administratively,” Boehner said. “There is no way to fix  this.”

Obama acknowledged that the administration “fumbled” the  healthcare rollout, but added, “I am confident that by the  time we look back on this next year, that people are going to say  that this is working well.”

Responding to a question regarding the troubled Healthcare.gov  website, Obama said, “I was not informed correctly that the  website wasn’t working.” He continued by saying that if he  had known it was not ready to launch, he would not have  proclaimed how great it was going to be.

Obama added that in terms of the website, Healthcare.gov “will  work much better” by the end of November. “The majority of  the people going to the website” will find it working the way  it’s supposed to, he said. “It’s not possible for me to  guarantee that 100 percent of the people” going to the site  will have a seamless and smooth experience, he added, but said  improvements will continue beyond December 1.

“Buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a  song on iTunes.” It’s a much more complicated transaction,  but the experience will be a lot better, he said.
Obama also blamed technical issues on the way government  purchases technology, saying it’s “cumbersome and  outdated.”
The president added that since he knew this two years ago, he  would’ve liked to do more to make sure the process improved.

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Source:rt.com

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