Health reform implementation

Two Dems join ‘keep your plan’ bill

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A House bill that would allow insurance companies the option of offering old healthcare plans is gaining dozens of co-sponsors ahead of a vote this week.

Sixty-eight House members signed on to the bill Tuesday alone, giving the measure sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) a total of 156 co-sponsors.

{mosads}Nearly all of the sponsors so far are Republicans, but two Democrats have joined the Keep Your Health Plan Act: Reps. John Barrow (Ga.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.). Both are top 2014 targets for the GOP; each Democrat represents a district easily won by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012.

Both Barrow and McIntyre also voted against the new healthcare law.

The Upton bill is likely to see a vote in the House later this week.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Tuesday pounced on former President Clinton’s remarks that President Obama should honor his commitment and find a workaround for those receiving cancellation notices. Boehner used the opportunity to urge Democrats to get on board with the Upton bill.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday he’s leaning toward opposing the bill, but emphasized that he hasn’t seen the final version yet.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Tuesday lambasted the House bill, saying it permits insurers to continue to provide low-quality coverage to new consumers and those with existing plans.

The end result, the White House argues, is that the plans that meet ObamaCare’s basic requirements would compete against those that don’t, sabotaging the administration’s reasoning behind having minimum requirements.

The Upton legislation doesn’t go as far as a Senate bill that vulnerable red state Democrats have begun backing.

That bill, proposed by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), would require companies to continue to offer plans that were offered before the new ObamaCare rules took effect for as long as consumers continue to pay their premiums.

Carney dodged a question about the White House stance on the Landrieu-Manchin bill Tuesday. Later in the day, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced her support for it.

A handful of healthcare policy experts interviewed by The Hill on Tuesday said both bills would be administrative nightmares and are complete overhauls that would take months to implement. 

–This report was updated at 12:31 p.m.

Tags Affordable Care Act Fred Upton Health insurance Healthcare John Barrow John Boehner Mike McIntyre ObamaCare Steny Hoyer
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