WASHINGTON (November 15, 2013) The “Keep Your Healthcare Plan,” legislation that would allow insurance companies to sell individual health policies even if the coverage falls short of Affordable Care Act standards, won approval Friday in the U.S. House in a 261-157 vote.
GOP lawmakers said the bill would ease the plight of millions of consumers reeling from cancellation notices, but the White House threatened a veto if the measure reaches President Barack Obama's desk.
Democratic leaders worked furiously Friday to minimize defections on the issue, while mindful that it is likely to figure prominently in next year's elections with control of Congress at stake.
The vote came Friday as Mr. Obama arranged a meeting at the White House with insurance company CEOs, and as the industry and state insurance commissioners began adjusting to an abrupt change in policy he announced a day earlier.
Central Texas lawmakers U.S. Reps. John Carter, R-Round Rock, Bill Flores, R-Bryan, and Roger Williams, R-Austin, all voted in favor of the plan.
“President Obama cannot simply wave his magic wand, tell insurance companies to re institute cancelled plans, all while bypassing Congress, which he does far too often. I am happy he has admitted Obamacare’s failure and is working to help the American people affected by cancelled plans, but he needs to do so by changing the law through Congress,” Carter said in a press release after the vote.
“"With today's bipartisan passage of the Keep your Health Plan Act, we are providing an option so that plans available on the individual market continue to be offered next year,” Flores said.
“This bill provides millions of Americans the opportunity to keep their policies and ensures that those keeping their plans would not face a penalty under Obamacare's individual mandate. Unlike the president's proposed political fix, the Keep Your Health Plan Act allows insurers to sell plans to new customers.”
“This bill is one small step in the right direction for Americans,” Williams said.
”(The president’s) signature legislation is a disaster, but the President doesn’t have the authority to usurp Congress and make changes to the law. President Obama must be willing to work with Congress as we continue passing common-sense legislation that offers Americans relief from Obamacare,” he said.