House to vote next week on 'Keep Your Health Plan Act'
A bill with the potential to be very embarrassing for President Obama - since many Democrats are going to vote for it - will hit the House floor next week and will probably pass.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton, says that Americans who like their health care plans can keep them by authorizing insurance companies to continue to offer plans already cancelled by Obamacare regulations.
Late Wednesday afternoon, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) announced via Twitter that the bill would get a vote.
The Keep Your Health Plan Act, H.R. 3350, was introduced last week by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and more than two dozen Republicans. As of Wednesday, co-sponsorship had grown to 88 members.
Upton's bill authorizes insurance companies to keep offering plans that they have said need to be canceled because of ObamaCare's new insurance standards. Since early October, companies have sent out millions of notices to enrollees saying their plans will be scrapped and, in many cases, replaced by more expensive plans.
"Despite the president's repeated promise of 'if you like your plan, you can keep it,' many Americans are now learning the sad reality that their current plan will no longer exist beginning on Jan. 1," Upton said last week. "Instead they are forced to purchase healthcare that they cannot afford through a system that does not even work, and that's just not fair."
The concept behind Upton's bill is being supported by some Democrats, including two in the Senate - Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) - who have proposed a similar bill.
House members are running scared and this may be the perfect vehicle for them to express their frustration with the Obamacare rollout. But what does it mean for the law? Rep. Upton explains in this USA Today op-ed:
The "Keep Your Health Plan Act" is a simple, sensible solution that would allow health plans being offered today to continue into next year. Particularly as consumers struggle with the error-prone online enrollment process, the Keep Your Health Plan Act is a voluntary escape hatch that would give added flexibility for Americans who truly want to keep the plan they have.
Implementation of the president's health care law has generated confusion and concern. That's not what health reform should be about. Americans deserve to know that in times of need, they will have the coverage and care that they want, need and can afford.
In effect, the bill would waive mandated coverages for a year and allow Americans to keep plans that don't force people to carry coverages they don't want or need - as long as the insurance companies go along with it. I don't see where it forces insurance companies to continue to offer the old policies, it just gives them the option to do so.
Regardless, the bill will pass the House with several Democrats voting for it. Will Harry Reid even allow the Senate version to come to the floor for a vote and would it pass? A successful vote in the Senate would place the bill smack on the president's desk and force him to delay another part of Obamacare or fail to make good on his promise. I don't see Harry Reid forcing this kind of choice on the president so Reid will only bring it to the floor if there's no chance it can pass. This would allow vulnerable Democratic Senators a vote that would please their constituents without embarrassing the president.