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November 15, 2013

President Hosts Health Insurance Executives for Help With Obamacare Fix

by Carla Babb

U.S. President Barack Obama has met with health insurance executives Friday to try to rescue the botched start-up of his signature health care reforms, popularly known as Obamacare.

The president had previously apologized for his broken promises on the Affordable Care Act.

Ahead of his meeting at the White House, Obama vowed more clarity for Americans this time around. “What we’re going to be doing is brainstorming on how do we make sure that everybody understands what their options are,” said Obama.

He has proposed a fix for Americans set to lose their insurance, allowing insurers to renew for one year health plans that were canceled because they didn't include coverage mandated by the new health care law.

But the question remains: Will this fix actually work?

The health insurance industry has said that since prices already have been set for 2014, renewing the old policies could destabilize the market. This could result in higher premiums in the months ahead. And under the fix, insurers still can choose not to reoffer these canceled policies.

Even as the president works to rebuild the promise of his health care law, Republicans like California Congressman Kevin McCarthy say Americans should not trust him.

"The president's credibility continues to crumble. We will continue to see the shock waves of Obamacare," said McCarthy.

Political analyst Stuart Rothenberg said this misstep, even when fixed, could mar the rest of the president's second term. "The perception that the president lied, that he didn't tell the truth, that he didn't tell the whole story, that’s a serious problem for the White House, that undermines his message going forward, whether it’s on immigration or health care or taxes or spending."

The possibility of a politically stifled president could leave disgruntled Americans feeling even more uncertain ahead of next year's mid-term elections. Rothenberg said if Republicans make a wrong move in this political back-and-forth, public opinion could someday shift back to the president's favor.