Obama ally urges lawmakers to back temporary healthcare fix

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D), a major ally of President Obama, is urging members of his state’s congressional delegation to vote for ObamaCare changes that are only temporary.

That would be a vote against bills from Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) in the House and from Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) in the Senate, which offer permanent solutions for those who have lost their healthcare plans due to the Affordable Care Act.

“Any delay in requiring plans to meet the basic standards of the ACA must only be temporary,” he wrote in a letter to them Friday. 

ADVERTISEMENT
Allowing noncompliant plans to remain permanently in place would revert back to the “status quo” of a broken healthcare system, the governor said. 

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are debating how to address the part of ObamaCare that has forced insurance companies to drop millions of subscribers from their plans. Obama announced Thursday he would provide a “fix” to the law, honoring the promise he previously made that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.”

His proposal would allow insurance companies to offer those canceled health policies for an additional year.

Meanwhile, Upton has introduced a bill that would allow Americans to keep their old policies under the law, but Democrats say his measure would undermine the entire law. The House is voting on it Friday afternoon.

Landrieu has proposed a bill in the Senate, which would require insurers to permanently offer existing sub-standard plans to those who continue to pay their premiums. House Democrats offered an alternative to Landrieu’s bill Friday that would allow people to keep their plans, but only for the short term.

While defending his healthcare law, Obama has compared it to Massachusetts's, which was enacted under then-Gov. Mitt Romney (R).

“The public has been poorly informed about this transition, and too many consumers are unable to enroll conveniently in compliant plans,” Patrick wrote. “For some, the temporary delay proposed yesterday by the President may be appropriate."

The Massachusetts governor suggests his state’s lawmakers vote to expand Obama’s executive authority. 

“I would humbly propose that you consider granting the administration broader authority to make adjustments to the ACA by regulation so long as such regulations advance the fundamental goal,” said Patrick, when considering legislation.

Massachusetts was the first state in the country to offer universal healthcare to its citizens.