House approves Obamacare changes with some Democratic support
(CNN) — The House approved Republican legislation on Friday giving health insurers the option of extending plans through 2014 that would otherwise be canceled for not complying with Affordable Care Act standards.
The bill, approved 261-157, would also allow new customers to enroll in those plans. Thirty-nine Democrats crossed party lines and joined a nearly unanimous GOP caucus in voting for the measure proposed by Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan.
It has little to no chance of clearing the Democratic-controlled Senate, however.
The White House has also indicated President Barack Obama would veto the measure if it reaches his desk, saying the Republican plan would undermine the integrity of the law aimed at providing health coverage to millions of Americans without it.
The Senate is taking a wait-and-see attitude about possible legislation over the politically charged insurance cancellations after Obama ordered administrative steps on Thursday to address the matter.
Obama’s signature domestic policy initiative has been marred by the disastrous launch of the HealthCare.gov website, which allows consumers to buy new health plans online, and by the policy cancellations.
Both problems have put congressional Democrats in a difficult political position since the Affordable Care Act was approved in 2010 with no Republican support and signed by Obama, a Democratic president.
Earlier, the House rejected a similar plan offered by Democrats, but it was more restrictive than the Republican measure and therefore not supported by the majority.
Separately, Obama sat down with insurance company executives on Friday at the White House.
Prior to the meeting, the President said that he and his administration would brainstorm with and solicit ideas from industry on how to smoothly carry out the changes he is making to the Affordable Care Act.
Obama said there would be a “collaborative process” around his proposal to reverse insurance plan cancellations due to broader coverage requirements under the sweeping law.
“We want to make sure that we get this done,” Obama said.
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