Gibbs: Administration faces mass defections without healthcare fix

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs on Thursday predicted the administration would come up with a fix for the millions of people on the individual market losing insurance before Friday or face mass Democratic defections on a Republican sponsored House bill. 

Gibbs said an administrative fix seems unlikely. And a more plausible solution would be for the Obama administration to come out in support of a separate proposal authored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).

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“Because one of those things has to happen or exactly what the Congressman said will transpire tomorrow, and that is, you'll see huge numbers of Democrats come out in support of the [Rep. Fred] Upton bill, even if they don't absolutely believe that that's what solves the problem,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

Upton’s bill — expected to be voted on Friday — would allow insurance companies to continue coverage even if those health plans do not meet the minimum standards of the healthcare law. It has already gained more than 150 cosponsors, including a small number of Democrats. 

Landrieu’s bill in the Senate, which has already attracted five Democratic co-sponsors, would force insurance companies to continue coverage to those who like their coverage, unless the insurance company cancels coverage and ends operation as an insurance provider. 

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) said Friday’s vote on Upton’s bill will likely be one of the only chances House Democrats have to get on the record saying they want the public to be able to keep its insurance if it likes it. 

“I told the White House yesterday, I said, members of Congress aren't judged by administrative fixes, they're judged by their voting record,” he said on the same show. “And people want to be on the record that we made a commitment to the American people that they could keep their insurance if they like it, and to fix that.”

Doyle said Upton’s proposal is not a “good bill.”

If the White House does anything, it would likely come out in favor of the Landrieu bill, Gibbs said. 

“I think, one of two things that probably has to happen today, and is exactly what the Congressman just said: Either the White House announces a legislative or administrative fix, and I think that's probably hard … [The White House] probably comes out in support of something like the Landrieu bill in the Senate.”