House Vote 587: Allows People To Helping The Affordable Care Act

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WASHINGTON — Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House on Friday approved legislation that would allow health insurance companies to renew individual insurance policies and sell similar policies to new customers next year even if the coverage does not provide all the benefits and consumer protections required by the new health care law.
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House Vote 587: Allows People To Keep Health Insurance Plans

Obama Proposal Worries Insurers and Regulators (November 15, 2013) Obama Moves to Avert Cancellation of Insurance (November 15, 2013)

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The vote was 261 to 157, with 39 Democrats bucking their party leadership to vote in favor of the bill.

The legislation would go further than the fix announced on Thursday by Mr. Obama, who said he would temporarily waive some requirements of the law and allow insurers to renew “current policies for current enrollees.”

Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and the chief sponsor of the House bill, said his legislation would fulfill a promise that Mr. Obama had made to the American people and then broken.

“In the last three years,” Mr. Upton said, “the president personally promised that if people liked their current health care plan, they could keep it ‘no matter what.’ But cancellation notices are now arriving in millions of mailboxes across the country. It’s cancellation today, sticker shock tomorrow.”

Mr. Upton, the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, belittled Mr. Obama’s proposal, saying it was offered at the last minute, “as the administration’s allies in Congress panicked.”

Senior Democrats criticized the Upton legislation as a ploy that could unravel the entire health care law.

“Don’t pretend you care about the American people’s health care here,” said Representative Mike Doyle, Democrat of Pennsylvania. “You just want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are not going to let you do that.”

The outlook for the legislation is unclear in the Senate, where Democrats running for re-election in 2014 are looking for a way to help consumers facing the loss of insurance policies that do not meet requirements of the 2010 law.

Senator Mary L. Landrieu, Democrat of Louisiana, was one of the first Democrats to break with the White House and offer her own plan, which would allow people to keep their current plans indefinitely. However, after the president’s turnabout on Thursday, many Senate Democrats said they were waiting to see if additional legislation was necessary, and quick action in the Senate is not expected.

With the House debating the measure, Mr. Obama and his top aides met with insurance company executives at the White House in an effort to quell concerns about the implications