Mired in the whirlwind of oppo politics surrounding his effort to launch his affordable health care plan, President Barack Obama made a promise he should have known would not, should not, be kept.

He said if you like your current insurance plan, you could keep it.

This was an inept statement for two major reasons: He could not promise any such thing back then; and for millions of Americans, keeping their current plan is not a good option.

Republicans chortle today with each report of a canceled policy, but private companies, not the federal government, are canceling policies, and the basic reason is they do not provide coverage required in the new law. You can’t blame the companies for the cancellations, but you should not blame the president either.

The most promising and disruptive fact surrounding health care reform is that, on its own, the private sector will not, can not, meet fundamental standards laid out in the Affordable Care Act, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions that won’t be met in current private policies without hikes in premium costs. Managing risk at lowest cost for basic universal coverage requires global insurance for the entire population, the basic reason why fragmented coverage won’t work for citizens at large, and expansion of Medicare is the way to go.

Republicans say America has the best health care system in the world, but that is only true for the richest citizens who can afford the highest costs in the world. Under a universal coverage plan, this option will remain, but the current system will not provide for the other 90 percent-plus.

Finally we are in the difficult but important process of building the best possible system for everyone. Relying on the current system won’t cut it.

— The Columbia (Mo.) Tribune