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

VOA Exclusive: Interview With Myanmar President Thein Sein

Thein Sein calls allegations that minority Muslim Rohingya are fleeing alleged torture in Rakhine state a media fabrication More

Video Better Protective Suit Sought for Ebola Caregivers

Current suit is uncomfortable, requires too many steps for removal, increasing chance of deadly contact with virus More

UN Rights Commission Investigates Eritrea

Three-member commission will start collecting first-hand information from victims and other witnesses in Switzerland and Italy next week More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concernsi
X
November 19, 2014 11:39 PM
The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.
Video

Video What Jon Stewart Learned About Iran From 'Rosewater'

Jon Stewart, host of the satirical news program "The Daily Show" talks with Saman Arbabi of Voice of America's Persian service about Stewart's directorial debut, "Rosewater."
Video

Video Lebanese Winemakers Thrive Despite War Next Door

In some of the most volatile parts of Lebanon, where a constant flow of refugees crosses the border from Syria, one industry continues to flourish against the odds. Lebanese winemakers say after surviving a brutal civil war in the 1970s and 80s, they can survive anything. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon.
Video

Video China's Rise Closely Watched

China’s role as APEC host this week allowed a rare opportunity for Beijing to showcase its vision for the global economy and the region. But as China’s stature grows, so have tensions with other countries, including the United States. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing reports on how China’s rise as a global power is seen among Chinese and Americans.

All About America

AppleAndroid