House to Take Up Obamacare Fix Bill Next Week
Energized by the woes of the early days of Obamacare implementation, House Republicans will return to Capitol Hill next week to pass another bill chipping away at what they consider a failing law.
On Wednesday afternoon, midway through the chamber’s recess week, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., took to Twitter to announce leadership’s plans to bring up the “Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013.”
The bill, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., was introduced in response to revelations that millions of Americans have had insurance plans canceled recently. It would allow insurance companies to continue offering the old plans.
“Many Americans are now learning the sad reality that their current plan will no longer exist beginning on January 1. Instead they are forced to purchase health insurance they cannot afford through a system that does not even work, and that’s just not fair,” Upton said in a statement at the time of his bill’s introduction late last month.
“This legislation is about providing folks the peace of mind that they will be allowed to continue their current coverage if they so choose,” he said.
Most House Democrats are unlikely to bite, arguing that the legislation would allow insurance companies to continuing offer polices that don’t comport to new standards designed to increase everybody’s quality of care.
But the measure could present a challenge for a Democratic Caucus that prides itself on party unity while the GOP typically struggles for consensus. In addition to the handful of Blue Dog Democrats who typically side with Republicans on anti-Obamacare votes, the Democratic contingent of the 113th Congress is also home to a sizable faction of freshmen who won elections in swing districts for promising to legislate with an independent, more moderate streak.
On a vote to delay the implementation of the individual mandate by one year, 22 Democrats voted “yes” alongside Republicans. That group might cross party lines again.
The number could also grow due to increasing frustration over the erratic performance of the Obamacare enrollment website, as well as some admissions from some Democrats that messaging could have been more on-point.
It’s causing Democrats from across the political spectrum, in both chambers, to question whether a legislative fix is necessary to keep the health care law on track.