U.S. House passes bill to let people keep health care plans

As outcry continues over canceled policies, the House approved a legislative fix a day after President Barack Obama said he would make changes.
by Chris Casteel Published: November 15, 2013

Amid an outcry over canceled health care policies, the House approved a bill Friday that would allow insurance companies to continue selling coverage that doesn't meet Obamacare standards.

The measure got support from 39 Democrats and passed 261-157. Four Republicans, including Rep. Jim Bridenstine, of Tulsa, opposed the bill.

House approval came a day after President Barack Obama, at perhaps the most contrite moment of his presidency, proposed his own “fix” to enable him to keep his promise, at least for awhile, that people who like their health care plans could keep them.

But Republicans — as well as some Democrats — in both houses want a legislative solution, not an administrative fix.

The question is whether the Democratic Senate and Republican House could agree on a bill that the president would sign.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has not said whether he would allow a vote on legislation authored by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La.

The White House has threatened to veto the House bill, which gives insurance companies the latitude to offer existing and new customers policies that don't have the breadth of coverage required by Obamacare.

Obama's proposed fix, unlike the House bill, would only apply to policies offered to existing customers. The Senate Democrats' bill also would apply only to existing customers, but it would last beyond 2014, while the House bill and Obama's proposal are only for next year.

Obama met with insurance company executives Friday.

“We're going to be soliciting ideas from them,” Obama said. “There's going to be a collaborative process. We want to make sure that we get this done so that in the years to come every American is going to have the kind of affordable health care that they all deserve.”

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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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