U.S. President Barack Obama publicly apologized on Thursday to people who will have to change their health insurance plans to comply with the standards set by the health reform law passed in 2010, after having promised repeatedly over the past several years that they would be able to keep their current plans if they were satisfied with them.
"I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me," said Obama in a White House interview with NBC News.
"We've got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this," Obama said.
Since the health reform was passed in 2010, Obama and his advisors have been promising Americans that they would be able to keep their health care plans if they are satisfied with them.
But the reality is that the reform establishes a series of minimum standards with which all health plans must now comply and, if an insurance plan does not meet those standards, it must be replaced by another plan from those offered in the new insurance marketplaces launched on Oct. 1.
Millions of Americans have already received written notification from their insurance companies that they will have to cancel the plans they have had for years and replace them with new ones that fulfill the reform's requirements, and in some cases those plans will be more expensive.
According to the White House, about 5 percent of Americans, or around 15 million people, will have to change their medical insurance plans to comply with the new standards set by the reform popularly known as Obamacare, the passage of which is considered one of the president's signature achievements.
But implementing the reform, which represents the largest overhaul of the U.S. health care system in half a century, is resulting in numerous problems, including major glitches in the Web page where people can shop for new insurance policies.
Meanwhile, the failures on the Web page, despite the government's assurances that they will be corrected by the end of November, are being used by Republican lawmakers to attack the reform, about which U.S. public opinion is quite divided. EFE