President Obama spoke at length Thursday about his plans to address the concerns of millions of Americans who are seeing their existing insurance plans cancelled as a result of the roll-out of the last major phase of the Affordable Care Act.
Meanwhile, at the Washington Ideas Forum, White House National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling was trying not to preempt the president's announcement, scheduled for roughly the same time. The big issue facing the White House right now is how to smooth the transition for people facing cancelled plans. Two main proposals have gained currency: in the House, a bill by Fred Upton to allow insurers to continue to sell plans that people are already on, even if they don't meet ACA standards; and in the Senate, a bill sponsored by Mary Landrieu to allow people on the sub-ACA plans to stay on them indefinitely.
In Obama's remarks, he proposed a third path, one that would be an administrative rather than legislative fix: a one-year extension of the sub-ACA plans for those already on them, at the discretion of state insurance commissioners and insurers, many of whom already eliminated those plans for business reasons as they prepared for the transformed insurance markets created through the ACA.