Nightly News   |  November 14, 2013

Obama’s ‘fix’ may not be the solution

Just one week after apologizing to Americans whose health insurance got cancelled as a result of the new health insurance law, the President is asking that insurance companies renew policies for a year even if they aren’t compliant with the law. That is something, however, that Obama doesn’t have the authority to enforce. NBC’s Chuck Todd reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> good evening. the president today apologized again for what has become of his health care initiative. he admitted today he overpromised and was underinformed. he once again took the blame and explained, as he put it, he's not a perfect man or a perfect president. of all the things in his presidency it's barack obama 's signature piece of legislation that's giving him the biggest problem of his presidency. and not long after he pledged again to make it right, the insurance industry called him out for changing the rules in the 9th inning of the game. we begin here tonight with our political director and chief white house correspondent chuck todd . chuck, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. under mounting political pressure from his own party is president decided to make good. the problem, his proposed fix may not fix anything.

>> we fumbled the rollout on the health care law .

>> reporter: a contrite president today. it's just a week removed from his apology to americans who saw their health insurance cancelled. despite his assurance that is if they liked their plan they could keep it.

>> i said that i would do everything we can to fix this problem. today i'm offering an idea that will help do it.

>> reporter: under the affordable care act as many as 5 million americans have had their health insurance cancelled because their policies don't cover everything the new law mandates. included in those, maternity care , emergency room visits and mental health care care.

>> the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014 and americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.

>> reporter: what the president didn't emphasize is insurance companies don't have to renew the policies. the president is simply asking them to extend the courtesy to upset policy holders. white house aides say the president doesn't have the power to mandate the fix.

>> this fix won't solve every problem for every person, but it will help a lot of people. doing more will require work with congress.

>> reporter: that's exactly what may happen. louisiana democratic senator mary landrieu , facing a stiff election challenge at home, told nbc's kelly oh donl she's prepared to introduce legislation requiring the fix.

>> let's hope the president's guidance works. if it does, hopefully the guidance will work. we may need some legislative power behind that.

>> reporter: house speaker john boehner dismissed the president's fix calling it little more than a political response designed to shift blame. but facing a full-on revolt in his own party, the president today did his best to accept the blame for the wide range of health care rollout problems.

>> ultimately i'm the president of the united states . you know, that's on me. i did not have enough awareness about the problems in the website. again, that's on us which is why -- that's on me. that's why i'm trying to fix it. so, you know, ultimately i'm the head of this team. we did fumble the ball on it. these are are two fumbles on something -- on a big game , but the game is not over.

>> reporter: brian, despite all the things that happened today, democrats still aren't happy. they want to vote on their own fix to show their own constituents they stood up to the president.

>> chuck todd from the white house for us tonight, starting us off. chuck, thanks.