The House on Friday passed the GOP’s answer to President Obama’s health care fix, picking up almost 40 Democratic votes along the way.
The “Keep Your Plan Act,” sponsored by GOP Rep. Fred Upton, allows insurers to continue offering plans that don’t meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards, undermining a key tenet of President Obama’s signature legislation. The bill passed 261-157, mostly on party lines, but with the help of 39 House Democrats – a signal to the White House that some on the left are skittish over the backlash to the botched health care rollout.
The president attempted to fend off legislative attempts to alter the health care law with his own administrative fix on Thursday, proposing to pass the buck to insurance companies, allowing them to continue offering sub-par plans through 2014 if they’d like.
For Democrats in Congress, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act has been a perfect cocktail for panic: constituents received cancellation notices for insurance policies the president promised they could keep; the online exchanges were hobbled, preventing those people from shopping for and buying new plans; and the president’s fix is falling flat.
Dissenting House and Senate Democrats are now planning and proposing their own fixes to the health care law’s flaws—legislation that would extend existing health care plans while preventing people from signing up for those policies in the future, essentially starving out the sub-par plans.
Democrats appealed to bring their legislative fix up twice on Friday afternoon during a debate of Upton’s legislation. Republicans tabled both bills. The Democrat-led attempt may be dead for now, but it suggests an appetite amongst Democrats to amend the health care reform.
“Let’s keep the promise,” Upton said on the House floor on Friday morning, referring to the president’s since-debunked promise that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. But Upton’s bill doesn’t keep the promise, either – instead, it pulls the rug out from under Obamacare by allowing insurers to ignore the reform’s regulations without mandating insurers to give policyholders their plans back.
The Senate is expected to reject the bill, and the White House has promised to veto it. Still, House leaders are keeping the battle alive on Twitter: