U.S. President Barack Obama has decided to delay full implementation of his new health care program by allowing Americans to keep canceled health plans for an extra year.
Speaking at the White House, and after weeks of his administration battling broken promises and technical issues, Mr. Obama repeated his apologies to the 5 percent of Americans who lost their health care policies under the new program. Insurance companies now will be able to offer those people the option to renew their old plans, but companies are not required to take that step.
The president admitted his administration had "fumbled" the rollout of the so-called Obamacare program, adding that he needs to win back some credibility with the American people.
"That's on me. And that's why I'm trying to fix it."
He said that despite these fumbles, he would not listen to "brazen" legislative attempts to undermine his health care law.
"The old individual market was not working well. And it's important that we don't pretend that somehow that's a place worth going back to."
Earlier, Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner said the American people can not trust the White House and will not let the Obama administration "destroy" the best health delivery system in the world.
"Let us be clear. The only way to fully protect the American people is to scrap this law once and for all. There is no way to fix this."
Problems with the health care rollout have plagued President Obama in recent weeks, and his popularity has dropped to an all-time low, according to a new nationwide poll.
Health and Human services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Wednesday that 106,185 people have registered for new insurance plans under the health care law. This is barely one-fifth of the nearly 500,000 people administration officials had projected would sign up in the first month of the president's signature health care program.
Administration officials are hoping that several million more people will sign up for plans before the March 31 registration deadline.