Dem Senate candidates break with party

Two Democratic lawmakers running for the Senate broke with their party on Friday and voted for a Republican-backed measure that allows insurance companies to offer health plans that were canceled under ObamaCare.

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Democratic Reps. Bruce Braley, a Senate candidate in Iowa, and Gary Peters, a Senate candidate in Michigan, were among the 39 Democrats who backed the measure, which was approved 261-157.

Braley and Peters were among the 39 Democrats who backed the measure despite the threat of a White House veto. Most of the votes came from incumbents facing tough reelection fights next year.

Both Braley and Peters are expected to win their party's nomination to run for open seats. Obama won both of their states in 2008 and 2012, making it favorable territory for the Democrats, but Republicans are planning to contest the races by making ObamaCare an issue.

Braley, in a statement following the vote, emphasized the need to fix, rather than replace, the law, declaring "we have to make it work."

"Iowans simply can’t afford to go back to a healthcare system where insurance companies could deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions, or cancel coverage when someone got sick, or increase premiums year-after-year with no justification. That’s why I’m committed to fixing the problems with the Affordable Care Act’s rollout and improving the law," he said.

Braley added: “President Obama promised that Americans could keep their health insurance if they liked it, and Iowans think that promise should be honored. That’s why I supported today’s bill."

Millions of people have been told their health plans are being canceled despite Obama's repeated promise that people could keep their plans if they like them under ObamaCare. Obama's promise has made the issue that much tougher for Democrats. 

Democrats voting against Upton's bill argued that it would undermine the healthcare law by allowing insurers to offer lower-cost plans with more limited coverage to past policy holders and new applicants.

The healthcare exchanges depend on young and healthy people signing up to offset sicker people on the exchanges, and the thought was that those people would be disproportionately interested in the less-expensive, more limited plans.

Only four Republicans voted against the bill, including Rep. Paul Broun, a Senate candidate in Georgia.

Two others running in the GOP primary election  in Georgia backed the bill: Reps. Jack Kingston and Phil Gingrey.

Broun has staked out a conservative position in the primary and said in a statement following his vote that he opposed the bill "because I am serious about putting a stop to Obamacare, and this bill does nothing to address Obamacare in the long-term."

"We need to focus on real reform that will actually lower costs and deliver quality care, not waste time with another delay or ‘fix,' " he said.