White House opposes bipartisan O-Care bill

The White House expressed opposition to a bipartisan bill that would loosen ObamaCare's rules for expatriates and workers who frequently travel in and out of the country, but stopped short of threatening to veto the legislation.

In an official statement Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget urged Congress to make "straightforward changes" to the legislation from Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) to ensure it does not weaken ObamaCare's consumer protections.

"The administration does not support House passage of H.R. 4414 in its current form because it would reduce consumer protections and create even more loopholes in the tax code," the statement read.

The message did not address what the White House would do if the measure passes both chambers of Congress. Easy approval was expected Tuesday in the House, where the measure was rejected under suspension of the rules on April 9 by a vote of 257-159.

Fifty-two Democrats supported the measure at that time. Senior Democrats, however, argued the legislation would allow insurers to sell non-compliant health plans to many workers living in the United States.

The White House did not detail its opposition on Tuesday, but pushed lawmakers to "pursue a solution" to what it described as the bill's problems. The statement said the administration has proposed specific changes to lawmakers.

Carney and his allies argue that it is unfair for health insurers to comply with ObamaCare's rules in the coverage they offer to expatriates.

Under the measure, Americans who leave the country 15 times or for 90 days would see their health plans exempted from ObamaCare's rules. The same rule would apply to families and to foreigners who spend the same amount of time in the United States.