(CNN) – In the irony that has become part of health care reform, the White House and the insurance companies find themselves in “not the happiest of marriages, but one that will have to last,” according to a senior administration official.
The insurance companies, as we know, were not happy about today’s events. But neither, says this official, was the White House.
“We’re not happy with what we had to do either,” says this official, referring to the administrative fix on the Affordable Care Act. “We know that (what) we did today is not a great thing for the marketplace” in the long term.
But the administration made the decision, this source says, because the website fiasco–and the cancellation of policies–left them with little choice but to make this one-year fix.
And while the White House, including the President, was clear to point out that they will not oppose legislation now pending - “It’s just memorializing what we just did,” the official says - it’s also clear that both the White House and the insurance companies would rather not open a Pandora’s box with legislation.
“We (the White House and insurance companies) are all in this for the long haul,” this source says.
This source makes it clear that the administration doesn’t favor a “forever” fix - which Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s proposal provides – and would just rather have one-year solution. But it doesn’t sound like they are fighting anything.
This administration official also questions whether, in fact, premiums would have to rise in 2015 as the insurance industry claims.
“Insurers have mechanisms to adjust (so) they shouldn’t have to increase their premiums in 2015,” this source says. But the insurance companies clearly disagree, as we have reported.
The administration apparently considered a slew of options in trying to fix the mess, including, according to this source, whether people could be given subsidies to pay the difference in cost. But that didn’t work out.
In the end, this source says, the insurance companies and the White House “all have a commitment to make this work. We’re not happy about what we had to do, either. But we took the long view.”