President Obama, in his lengthy remarks Thursday, did not definitively fix the problem of people losing existing individual-market insurance plans that have been deemed unfit for sale under the Affordable Care Act.
What he did is begin the process of creating a fix, to the extent that one is possible without even further roiling the insurance markets. As importantly, his announcement of an administrative fix acted as an important pressure valve in advance of a vote on Rep. Fred Upton's House bill Friday, which Republican leaders described as an important incremental step to Obamacare repeal. Obama's fix took some pressure off congressional Democrats to legislate in a panic in response to the political fallout over the ACA rollout.
On Friday, 39 House Democrats joined Republicans to pass Upton's bill, "The Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013," which would permit insurers to continue to sell 2013's sub-ACA plans in 2014 and allow customers already on such plans to stay on them if insurers continue to offer them. That number of Democratic defections is high in a caucus famed for its unity, but it was considerably smaller than many feared it might be.