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Four Oklahoma lawmakers vote for health insurance bill; Bridenstine opposes

by Chris Casteel Modified: November 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm •  Published: November 15, 2013

Four of Oklahoma’s five members of the U.S. House voted Friday for legislation aimed at allowing insurance companies to continue selling policies that were being cancelled because of Obamacare. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, voted against the legislation, which passed 261-157, with 39 Democrats voting for it.

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, said, “The Keep Your Health Plan Act offers a solution to one of the law’s biggest flaws: the cancellation of existing individual insurance plans that Americans want to keep. “Thousands of Oklahomans and nearly five million nationwide have already received notices that the health plan they liked would be cancelled as of January 1, either because it was deemed substandard by the Administration or illegal because it was part of a small business group plan no longer allowed by the law.”

“To fix this problem, the Keep Your Health Plan allows insurance companies the option to extend any existing individual health plan through 2014. Americans should have more options for healthcare, not less. In contrast to the President’s impromptu insurance proposal, this bill codifies the change into law without additional regulations that hamper free-market competition among insurance providers and further complicate the choices for American families looking for quality insurance.”

Bridenstine said, “While this is a well-intentioned messaging bill, this law would place the President’s lie on the shoulders of Congress. Since insurance companies cannot alter course on a dime, Congress cannot keep this promise any more than the President.

“Passing HR 3350 does not make the Affordable Care Act constitutional. The federal government is compelling individual citizens to buy a product they would not otherwise buy, and that is unconstitutional. Simply grandfathering plans that were previously available does not make the coercion constitutional.

“Obamacare cannot be fixed and Congress should not be passing laws to try to keep it alive and punish millions of Americans. Now is the time for Congress to make a binary decision: Are you for Obamacare or against it?”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, said, ““While the president offered a proposal attempting to fix the problems his health care law created, actual legislation is needed before real solutions can be implemented. That is why I am glad the House passed the Keep Your Health Plan Act today. This legislation would give Americans relief from the president’s flawed health care law by allowing health insurers to continue offering their old plans. H.R. 3350 would therefore ensure that Americans who are able to keep their health plan would not face onerous penalties under Obamacare’s individual mandate.

“Americans deserve a break from Obamacare, and I am pleased this legislation will help accomplish this goal. Too many people are facing hardships with the law, and that is why I will continue to work in the House to pass legislation that will help ease the unnecessary burdens that the president’s disastrous health care law has placed on the American people.”

Rep. Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, said, “Promises have been broken and we face critical situations that need to be made right.

“Countless Americans, and many within the Second District of Oklahoma, are going to their mailboxes only to learn that the health insurance plan they liked is being canceled.

“This Administration failed to keep its promise that if Americans liked their plans they could keep them. Obamacare has been a failure since the beginning and today in the House we worked towards cleaning up the damage of this health care mandate.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said, “Today’s House vote is encouraging because it helps some Americans who recently felt the negative impact of the healthcare law.

“However, even this legislation will not prevent many Americans from losing the healthcare coverage they have relied on. This bill should be seen as an emergency triage, rather than a full solution to all the problems created by Obamacare.

“The president acknowledged the need for a solution for millions of unhappy Americans who received coverage cancellations. While I am pleased that he agrees with Republicans and a growing number of Democrats on this problem, the president cannot pick and choose which portions of the law he wants to implement without consulting Congress. The legislative branch is responsible for passing and amending laws, and this authority must be preserved.”

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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