After years of casting the health insurance industry as a villain, guilty of canceling plans without justification and raising premiums for profit, President Obama can't criticize them when he actually needs to. "If you like you plan, you can keep it" has been debunked, but Obama hasn't criticized insurance companies for changing plans (causing them to lose their grandfather status) or canceling them, despite calls from his supporters.
The problem is, as much as Obama has demonized the industry in the past, they're in this together for the long haul. "Their interests are aligned with our interests in terms of wanting to enroll targeted populations," a senior White House official told Politico on Wednesday. "It is not that we will agree with everything now either, but I would say for some time now there has been a collaboration because of that mutual interest." Not only does attacking the industry not help the administration's public relations problems, but insurers have been instrumental in things like hand fixing healthcare.gov applications with incomplete information. And, as an insurance industry official told Politico, the White House knew some plans would be cancelled, adding "the White House would be sh—ting on the insurance industry for continuing to offer plans that were below the threshold."