After a couple of weeks of massaging his original vow that "if you like your policy, you can keep your policy," President Obama bowed to the reality that millions of people couldn't keep their insurance policies under the rules of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and unveiled a fix for the problem today — insurers can now renew customers with policies that do not meet the higher standards of the ACA.

The new rule will allow people who have had their policies canceled because they didn't meet the new standards to keep their policies for one more year, but forbids insurers from selling the same sub-standard policies to new customers.

“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans, particularly after assurances they heard from me that if they had a plan that they liked they could keep it,” said Mr. Obama, who repeatedly took personal responsibility for the health care rollout, which has thrown Democrats on the defensive. “And to those Americans, I hear you loud and clear. I said that I would do everything we can to fix this problem. And today I’m offering an idea that will help do it.”

The devils in the details, however, are many and far-flung. State insurance commissioners will have to agree to the rule, and so will insurers, who are already warning that they might not be able to simply re-establish canceled policies without setting higher premiums. And Republicans in the House of Representatives have vowed to extend Obama's rule beyond those with canceled policies to include anyone wishing to purchase a similar pre-ACA-standards policy.

The president's hand was forced not only by public opinion but also by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress who were set to act on legislation, introduced by both Democrats and Republicans, to allow for the continuation of the canceled insurance policies.