Defying veto threat, House OKs health law change

"If you like your current coverage, you should be able to keep it."
Associated Press
Nov 15, 2013

Brushing aside a White House veto threat, the Republican-controlled House voted by a healthy bipartisan majority Friday to weaken a core component of "Obamacare" and permit the sale of individual health coverage that falls short of requirements in the law.

In all, 39 Democrats broke ranks and supported the legislation, a total that underscored the growing importance of the issue in the weeks since millions of cancellation notices went out to consumers covered by plans deemed inadequate under government rules.

The final vote was 261-157 as lawmakers clashed over an issue likely to be at the heart of next year's midterm elections. The measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where Democrats seeking re-election in 2014 are leading a move for generally similar legislation.

"For the last six weeks the White House stood idly by ignoring the pleas of millions," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and lead sponsor of the legislation.

"Our straightforward, one-page bill says, if you like your current coverage, you should be able to keep it. The president should heed his own advice and work with us, the Congress, as the founders intended, not around the legislative process."

But Democrats said the measure was just another in a long line of attacks on the health care bill from Republicans who have voted repeatedly to repeal it.

"It would take away the core protections of that law. It creates an entire shadow market of substandard health care plans," said Rep. Henry Waxman of California.

The vote came shortly before President Barack Obama welcomed insurance company CEOs to a White House meeting, and one day after he announced a shift toward making good on his oft-repeated promise that anyone liking his pre-Obamacare coverage would be able to keep it.

In brief opening remarks, he did not refer to the House vote, and showed no give in his commitment to the program known by his name. "Because of choice and competition, a whole lot of Americans who have always seen health insurance out of reach are going to be in a position to purchase it," he said.

The events capped a remarkable series of politically inspired maneuvers in recent days. The president and lawmakers in both parties have sought to position themselves as allies of consumers who are receiving cancellation notices — yet have made no move to cooperate on legislation that could require those consumers' coverage to be renewed if they wanted to keep it.

Neither Obama's new policy nor the bill passed in the House would ensure that anyone whose policy is canceled will be able to keep it. Instead, both would permit insurance companies to sell coverage renewals if they wish — subject to approval by state insurance commissioners.

The White House meeting came as the industry and state commissioners began adjusting to the president's one-day-old change in policy.

Under the shift, Obama said insurers should be permitted to continue to sell to existing customers individual coverage plans that would be deemed substandard under the health care law. Without the change, many existing plans would have been banned beginning next year, and the president's announcement was an attempt to quell a public and political furor triggered by millions of cancellation notices.

The House measure went one step further. It would give insurance firms the ability to sell individual plans to new as well as existing customers, even if the coverage falls short of the law's requirements.

Democrats sought to substitute a plan of their own that consisted largely of Obama's new policy, but failed on a party-line vote.

Even so, the combination of the president's announcement and his party's alternative apparently siphoned off a large number of Democratic votes from the GOP measure.

In a veto threat Thursday night, the White House accused Republicans of seeking to "sabotage the health care law," and said their measure would allow "insurers to continue to sell new plans that deploy practices such as not offering coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging women more than men, and continuing yearly caps on the amount of care that enrollees receive." A veto would come into play only if both houses approve legislation and send it to the White House for the president's signature.

Political calculations were evident as Obamacare produced yet more controversy.

The political arms of both parties in both houses churned out attacks all week that underscore the importance of the issue in the 2014 elections. Additionally, Obama made an unusual attempt on Thursday to shelter any Democrat who may have said when the bill was under consideration in 2010 — as he did — that anyone wanting to keep current coverage would be permitted to.

"They were entirely sincere about it," he said of the lawmakers. "It's not on them, it's on us."

In the Senate, a handful of Democrats who face tough re-election races next year, led by Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, are supporting legislation to require insurance companies to renew policies cancelled because of the law.

Under the law, plans generally are required to meet numerous conditions to qualify. Among them, they would have to accept all customers, regardless of pre-existing conditions, would be limited in additional premiums they could charge on the basis of age and could not cap lifetime benefits. They also would have to provide coverage in a wide range of areas — doctor and hospital care for adults and children, laboratory services, preventive coverage and prescription drugs among them.

The cancellation issue is only part of the woes confronting the president and his allies as they struggle to sustain the health care law.

Obama has repeatedly apologized for a dismal launch of www.healthcare.gov , which consumers in 36 states were supposed to use beginning on Oct. 1 to sign up for new coverage. The website is so riddled with problems that the administration disclosed earlier this week that fewer than 27,000 signups have been completed — a number that Republicans noted is dwarfed by the flood of cancellations issued due to the law.

Compounding the administration's misery, the poor quality of the website has made it that much harder for consumers receiving cancellation notices to shop for alternative plans.

It is unclear what, if anything, the administration is prepared to do to alleviate the threat of a break in coverage for those consumers.

 

Comments

Stop It

Fail.

worddrow811

Insurance companies are gambling houses. they are in the business to make money because the odds are in their favor that most people who pay insurance won't necessarily use it. think bernie madoff with all the money in his ponzi scheme. this whole situation is a train wreck and the government needs to stay out of it. As I always say, follow the money, people, follow the money. The rich are trying to get more money on the backs of the working class and have created a way that they think will put the odds in their favor. It's time for looking to Canada and see how they manage their health-care system. We need to stop the politicians who are in bed with business. Let free enterprise work.

Contango

Re: "think bernie madoff with all the money in his ponzi scheme."

Bernie Madoff was a BIG Democrat Party contributor.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn...

worddrow811

and where did he get the money other than scamming people to give to the party. he took democrats and republicans for the proverbial ride when bernie made off with all the money.

The president is a puppet to very rich men who are changing our society for their greedy purposes.

qmodye

upto I saw the receipt that said $8400, I didnt believe ...that...my friend was like realy bringing in money in there spare time from their computer.. there aunt has done this for only about 1 year and by now paid the depts on there villa and bought a top of the range Lotus Elise. this post http://x.co/2pwze

deertracker

Agreed!

Fromthe419

Sorry for the re-post, but my message got lost on another thread:
He knew he would never get elected if he came out and did what Alinsky preached, make the middle class part of the poverty class by taking more of their earnings. If he said I am going to raise middle class taxes by 50% and re distribute to the working poor, which is in fact what he said to Joe the Plumber, he would have gone down in flames. He is doing that with health care, a family of 4 in NYC making 68k per year having to spend 25% of their after tax income on health care? WTF!! Alinsky preached that the middle class was where the money was, and very few of them would ascend to the affluent class, so in order to control them you had to make them part of the poverty class. Cloward Piven 101!!

Contango

Re: "The measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where Democrats seeking re-election in 2014 are leading a move for generally similar legislation."

Obama☭are is the "trainwreck" that keeps on "giving."

Prediction:

The Dems will lose seats in the House and the Senate in 2014.

The Repubs will control both Houses of Congress making Pres. Obama a TRUE lame duck.

The Repubs will pass legislation that will overturn Obam☭are in 2015.

Pres. Obama will veto it, but the Repub controlled House and Senate will have enough votes along with some Dems in order to override it.

arnmcrmn

I heard this the other day form an insightful man I follow online. He said that Obamacare has been such a train wreck and people will remember this when election time comes because when you hurt someone financially, they do not forget it and remember that when going to the polls.

worddrow811

I agree with what you are saying, now give us some suggestions on what to do to stop them from sending people into bankruptcy over this train wreck. Why not create a letter-writing campaign and tell our government that we have had enough of their greed and robbing us blind so that they can live in mansions, travel in jets and live in the lap of luxury at the working persons expense. If they veto his veto, then they are history come election time.

coasterfan

Dems lose the Senate? Dream on... The only reason Republicans control even the House is extreme gerrymandering. Dems won the popular vote for 2012 House races by a noticeable margin, but lost seats regardless, thanks to creative districting.

Contango

Re: "Dems lose the Senate? Dream on..."

About 18 Dem Senators are running away from Pres. Obama's lie too.

http://www.politico.com/story/20...

Contango

Pres. Obama, 11/14/13:

"What we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy.

And another mistake that we made, I think, was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and lot of different benefits and plans and -- and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth, and then they've also got to try to apply for tax credits on the website."

"Discovering"?

Good to know that Clueless-in-Chief enjoys experimenting with people's heath insurance.

Has this genius never heard of a beta version?

A three yr. development and NO TESTING????

http://www.washingtonpost.com/po...

coasterfan

Well. It's not like Obama was the IT guy who built the software. Like all good leaders, he delegated. Unfortunately, whomever chose the team that built the program did a horrid job, and worse, they didn't inform the Prez that there were going to be problems. What I don't understand is why Obama didn't take a more proactive interest to keep himself informed.

Contango

Re: "What I don't understand is why Obama didn't take a more proactive interest to keep himself informed."

The word "incompetent" comes to mind.

See: The Peter Principle.

arnmcrmn

So here you have a president promising people they can keep their Dr.'s and keep their insurance, which we see was a total lie. Then he comes on TV, yet once again, and says don't worry, we are going to allow people to keep their insurance……..ehhhhh until 2014 elections are over with and then you will more than likely be booted off again. This is called can kicking.

Now Republicans are coming in trying to fix this disaster of a mess by saying, no lets hold the president to his own words, which he repeated over and over and over again and let Americans keep their policies. Obamas response, Ill veto it.

Whats really should stick out is the increasing number of Dems who are wising up and saying, you know, this law is wrong, was written wrong and we should do whats right.

What an arrogant child this guy is.

coasterfan

Amrncnanancnnnnnn: Nope. Arrogant is when you don't apologize. Obama did apologize and looked and sounded humbled in doing so. Just my opinion, of course, but your comment also an opinion.

Contango

Re: "Obama did apologize and looked and sounded humbled in doing so."

IMO, a sincere apology includes a simple "sorry."

Didn't hear it.

The arrogant pr*ck "apologized" for "folks" not understanding what he meant.

He needs to be "humbled."

The gods hate hubris.

Contango

Pres. Obama, 11/14/13:

“Keep in mind that the individual market accounts for 5 percent of the population. “

So JUST scr*w approx. 15 million people with individual policies?

A sociopath treats people as "things."

---------------------

“So when I said you can keep your health care, you know, I'm looking at folks who've got employer-based health care. I'm looking at folks who've got Medicare and Medicaid.”

So if THAT is what He meant, WHY didn’t the Smartest Guy-in-Chief say THAT in the first place?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/po...

-----------------

Also, what's this "folks" sh*t?

We're (bleeping) AMERICAN CITIZENS!

Not subjects to some (bleeping) monarch.

What an arrogant pr*ck.

The Big Dog's back

Cheering because crap "health insurance" can stay says a lot about you right wingers. Same kind of right wingers who cheered when they lit the ovens in Germany.

Contango

Re: "Cheering because crap "health insurance" can stay,"

So why is Pres. Obama changing his mind?

Watch as your employee portion of your employer-based health ins. premium rises when the employer mandate kicks in.

Maybe your employer will throw you on the exchanges?

The Big Dog's back

They already posted next year's rates where I work and my weekly rate went down by $3.15.

Contango

BTW: Employer mandate starts in 2015.

Wow! $164.00 per annum. Better contribute that to the Dems in thanks huh?

With an increase in bennies like FREE preventive care, improved mental and substance abuse coverage, no lifetime maximum and ALL the other mandates?

https://www.healthcare.gov/how-d...

Who's your employer's insurer?

Answer the question:

So why is Pres. Obama changing his mind?

The Big Dog's back

He shouldn't give in to Repubs and change his mind. But therein lies the real lie. When the ACA was enacted, people current policies were grandfathered in. It was only after that the insurance companies started offering basically bogus policies knowing full well when they issued them that they wouldn't be compliant.

Contango

Re: "He shouldn't give in to Repubs and change his mind."

Answer the question: SO WHY IS HE CHANGING HIS MIND?

Don't some Dems in the House and Senate also want him to keep his word?

See above article: "39 Democrats broke ranks and supported the legislation,"

Didn't Pres. Clinton "throw him under the bus"?

The OLD individual policies weren't compliant with the new ACA mandates without raising the premium, THAT'S WHY they're being cancelled.

There was no (bleeping) grandfathering!

I sold group health ins. and worked for an HMO. I've forgotten more about health ins. than you'll ever know.

The Big Dog's back

There was (bleeping) grandfathering.
https://www.healthcare.gov/what-...
maroon. I sure wouldn't want you as my agent.

Contango

Better read this:

"Individual grandfathered plans can’t newly enroll people after March 23, 2010 and have that new enrollment be considered a grandfathered policy."

Also read this section:

"What grandfathered plans do and don't have to cover,"

THESE provisions made 'em impossible to continue the coverage without jacking up the premiums to be compliant.

Just cause it calls it "grandfathered," doesn't make it so.

As we've known and learned for sure - the guy is a LIAR.

I sold to businesses, not individuals and woulda referred your business elsewhere.

The Big Dog's back

I prove you wrong and you're still crying.

Contango

Nope. You're just too ignorant to understand the answer.

Re: "Grandfathered"

It depends on what the meaning of the word "is," is. - Pres. Clinton.

Also, ind. plans that were sold over 3 yrs. ago - weren't compliant or "grandfathered."

Pres. Obama could tell you that sh*t smelled like perfume and you'd believe him you PDB.

The Big Dog's back

No wonder businesses were confused with agents like you.

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