Health Insurance Sparks Fly

President Barack Obama says he hears Americans who are upset about losing their health insurance "loud and clear" and is offering a fix.

Obama on Thursday announced that insurance companies can keep offering consumers plans that would otherwise be cancelled.

The president noted that the first-month enrollment numbers in health care plans under his law are lagging and he isn't happy about it. He said that "we fumbled the roll-out" of the program. And he vowed to build a better health care system for every American and "get it right."

The administrative changes are good for just one year, though senior administration officials said they could be extended if problems with the law persist.

Senator Mike Johanns issued a statement calling the president's comments politically motivated.

He said, “The President has one goal in mind with this announcement, and it has more to do with shifting blame and playing politics than allowing Americans to keep their health care coverage,” Johanns said. “President Obama knows a West Wing podium is used for spin, not fixing a law. His proposal is an attempt to avoid legislative efforts to change his namesake law. We’ve seen this before. President Obama tried to use executive actions to quiet those raising concerns with the conscience protections in the law and his so-called fix was laughable, rejected even by the courts.

“This law is broken and even Democrats are beginning to understand that. The President is simply trying to convince them to accept tweaks when the only real solution is a full repeal.”

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska issued the following statement in the aftermath of the president's remarks:

"Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska officials are analyzing the impact of the President’s announcement to extend current health insurance policies. We are working to make the best decision for our customers, and will inform them regarding their options."

Blue Cross Blue Shield Nebraska has not had any cancellations.

  • BCBSNE sent 45,000 letters to individual policyholders in August and September notifying them that current policies were being replaced with new ACA-compliant policies.
  • According to information they received in the letter, those customers who did not indicate a plan change will automatically be moved to plans that meet the requirements of the health care law.
  • Financial assistance to purchase these new policies is available to those who apply and qualify through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

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