Succumbing to the growing panic over his health law, the president on Thursday moved to throw his party a political lifeline. As rescue apparatuses go, it is likely to do more harm than good.
Mr. Obama took to the podium in the White House briefing room to explain that yes, some Americans may indeed now keep the health-care plans they like. Maybe. If insurers can undo three years of work in a few weeks. If state regulators can move at similar lightning speed. So long as the old plans come with new warning labels. And with the understanding that those Americans lucky enough to receive a renewal option can only keep the plans they “like” for a further year. Those giant caveats aside, the president wishes you good fortune.
This small turnabout was nonetheless a humiliating concession for Mr. Obama, whose press secretary, Jay Carney, only a few days ago was ripping the idea of allowing insurers to continue selling “substandard” plans. His hand was forced by a growing mob of congressional Democrats who are getting slammed over cancellations, and who threatened revolt if the administration didn’t act.