Senate won't bring Upton fix to floor

Anne Wernikoff

Senate Democrats do not expect to vote on the ObamaCare fix the House approved on Friday with 39 Democratic votes, according to a senior Democratic aide.

The aide said there is not any pressure on the Senate Democratic leadership to bring the legislation sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to the floor.

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“There is a difference between constructive fixes designed to improve the law and bills that would gut it,” said the senior Democratic aide. “The Upton bill is the latter.”

Upton’s bill would allow insurance companies to offer the less expensive, limited plans that do not meet all of the more stringent requirements under ObamaCare.

Millions of people have been told their existing plans have been or will be canceled, and the GOP bill is meant to address that.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has sponsored rival legislation that would require insurance companies to offer the old plans. She has panned Upton’s proposal.

“The House bill guts and undercuts and drives a Mack truck through the Affordable Care Act by not only allowing people that had policies to keep them but allowing new people to sign on,” she said. “Their whole purpose is to undermine and throw the markets out of wack and make the Affordable Care Act not work.”

Landrieu’s bill would mandate that insurance companies allow people to keep their plans if they prefer them to the options available through government exchanges. It would also require insurance companies to send notices to people who keep their plans informing them of the ways it does not meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has yet to commit to putting Landrieu’s bill on the floor.

Some Democrats argue a legislative fix is not necessary.

“There is no need for a legislative fix for this issue,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) said in a statement earlier this week.

He said Congress should work with the administration to improve the implementation of the law and publicize its benefits to people without insurance.