News / USA

Obama's Efforts to Fix Health Care Draws Mixed Reviews

President Barack Obama makes a statement before the start of a meeting with representatives of health insurance companies, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 15, 2013.
President Barack Obama makes a statement before the start of a meeting with representatives of health insurance companies, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, in Washington, Nov. 15, 2013.
Pamela Dockins
— U.S. President Barack Obama is taking steps to correct problems that have plagued his health care reform program since its launch in October. There is debate over whether the president has made enough changes to the program to quell discontent.

The Obama administration says it is working to fix problems with the government's health care website.

Many Americans have been frustrated by the site's technical glitches, which have prevented them from buying health insurance.

This past week, Obama offered a fix to another problem that is causing some Americans to lose their health care policies under his new program. The president said insurance companies could now give these people the option of keeping their old plans for an extra year.

"Now this fix won't solve every problem for every person but it is going to help a lot of people," said the president.

Michael Consedine, the insurance commissioner of Pennsylvania and secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said the president's fix could wind up causing confusion. "That fix is a very temporary one and may ultimately cause far greater harm to the insurance marketplace in allowing different products and different policies to continue in a marketplace where we thought there would be a lot more uniformity."

On Friday, the Republican-majority House of Representatives voted to make even more changes. A bill passed with the support of some House Democrats that would allow insurance companies to sell policies that lack all the health care reform mandates and renew customer policies that had been canceled.

The bill's fate in the Senate is uncertain.

Consedine said rapid changes in insurance policies and rates could become problematic at the state level. "We really are feeling like sort of like a ship out on the waves being tossed and turned. The prevailing winds go one direction one day and another the next."

Anne-Marie Slaughter is a former director of policy planning at the State Department and the current head of the New America Foundation, a public policy institute. On VOA's Press Conference USA, she predicted Obama would be able to weather the health care storm.

"I think that the need for health care overhaul is so great and already a million people have gotten insurance and there are millions and millions more who need insurance. I think he is going to be able to ride this out," said Slaughter.

Slaughter, however, said the health care controversy could be harmful to the president's Democratic Party in next year's mid-term elections.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelteri
X
Scott Bobb
July 30, 2014 8:16 PM
Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video A Summer Camp for All the World

VIDEO: During workshops and social gatherings, the Global Youth Village summer camp encourages young people to cooperate and embrace their differences, while learning to communicate with people from other countries. VOA's Deborah Block has more.
Video

Video From Cantankerous Warlock to Incorruptible Priest, 'Harry Potter' Actor Embraces Diverse Roles

He’s perhaps best known as Mad Eye Moody, the whimsical wizard in the Harry Potter franchise. But character actor Brendan Gleeson's resume includes dozens of films, and he embraces all the characters he inhabits with equal passion. In an interview with VOA’s Penelope Poulou, Gleeson discussed his new drama "Calvary" and his secret to success.

AppleAndroid