Obama's illegal 'fix'?

President Obama speaks to the press about a proposed "fix" to the health care reform law.

Conservative commentators didn't wait until President Barack Obama finished his press conference on health care reform before firing their first salvos.

Mr Obama announced this afternoon that his administration will allow companies that sell insurance to individuals to continue to provide their plans until 2014 - even if they do not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.

The response can be summed up thusly: It's not going to make a difference. Oh, and it's illegal.

Writes the The Weekly Standard: "The proposed White House fix so that Obama can honor his commitment is … likely to create more problems and to further distrust the American people have for this administration, which makes law based on what it chooses to enforce while sidestepping the constitutional process that is in place.

"The Obama Administration has decided to temporarily 'fix' the mess they've made - by simply withholding enforcement of the law they championed," writes Timothy Sandefur in his Freespace blog. "That is to say, by allowing people to break the law."

The illegality argument should be familiar - it is one conservatives have been making about Mr Obama's "workarounds" on health care reform for some time now. They made it with gusto after the administration announced delaying enforcement of the requirement that large companies provide health insurance to their employees.

Other conservatives see Mr Obama's strategy as part of a gambit to shift blame from his administration to insurers if - or when, as they see it - the reform rollout continues to encounter difficulties. The president is giving insurers the discretion of whether to offer renewals of existing plans, and there's a chance that they may decide not to change course before the end of the year deadline.

"So Obama certainly is attempting to engineer a situation in which he offers an odious, destructive deal to insurance companies, so that when they balk, he can say, "See? This is why we need Obamacare, and none of this is my fault,'" writes the Ace of Spades HQ blog.

Conservative criticism is to be expected, of course, and now that criticism has blossomed into schadenfreude.

"The Democratic party has a big problem here, and their leader's attempt to stop the bleeding does not seem to have done the trick," writes Charles Cook in the National Review.

With his announcement today, however, Mr Obama is trying to hold the ranks among Democrats and convince an increasingly wary public that health care reform will be worthwhile - he just needs more time.