That doesn’t mean everyone affected will be able to keep his policy. Some state governments will say no. Some insurance companies will be unable or unwilling to execute a U-turn at this late date, even if state regulators let them try. The president’s fix, then, would merely ease the pressure Democrats are feeling and shift blame onto state and insurance-company officials.
That would be a better outcome, though, than if companies take full advantage of Obama’s new policy and extend many plans that were set to end, draining the new system of enrollees it needs to function well. Insurers who decided to act would try to hold onto their healthiest customers — those who don’t make many claims, if any. But the Obamacare marketplaces need those relatively healthy customers. If the system struggles in its opening years, the pressure to pull the plug will only grow. This outcome is unlikely, but anything that poses a threat to the integrity of the system’s risk balancing rightly worries health-care policy experts.
The chief — the only — advantage of Obama’s proposal is that it’s not as bad as the “fixes” being floated by panicked Democrats and gloating Republicans in Congress.