In an interview with NBC News last week, President Barack Obama apologized to Americans that his "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" pledge had not been kept and people's health insurance policies were in fact being canceled.
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," Obama said. "We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this."
But that apology came with a few asterisks. For starters, Obama implied that this wasn't supposed to happen, that these canceled plans were some bug in the implementation of the law that his administration hadn't intended.
"First of all, I meant what I said. And we worked hard to try to make sure that we implemented it properly. But obviously, we didn't do a good enough job, and I regret that," he said. "Obviously, we didn't do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. That's something that I regret. That's something that we're going to do everything we can to get fixed."
That struck health policy experts, even those supportive of the law, as an odd thing for the president to say. Obamacare was designed to disrupt the individual market, where medical underwriting had led to discrimination and high prices for a lot of people. The way that the law tried to correct some of those flaws was requiring comprehensive coverage, mandating that insurers cover everybody and effectively combining all of the market's participants into one big risk pool.
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