November 18, 2013 — The House on Friday voted 261-157 to approve a bill (HR 3350) that would allow U.S. residents to keep their existing health plans, even if the plans do not meet minimum requirements under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), Reuters reports. Rep. Frank Upton (R-Mich.) sponsored the bill (Cornwell, Reuters, 11/15). Thirty-nine Democrats voted for the bill, while four Republicans voted against it (O'Keefe/Somashekhar, Washington Post, 11/15).
Some Democrats noted that the Obama administration already has put forth a plan to allow consumers to keep their current plans for one year, making the bill inconsequential. However, other Democrats -- many whom are facing tough re-election fights -- said something must be done to remedy the plight of the thousands of U.S. residents who are losing coverage (Parker/Pear, New York Times, 11/15).
According to the Wall Street Journal, some Republicans said the bill was the first step to address what they believe are the ACA's failings. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, "Tomorrow it will be the staggering and unexpected costs. Next month it will be about losing access to their doctors -- and the list continues to grow" (Hughes/Hook, Wall Street Journal, 11/15).
Senate Will Not Vote on Bill, Aide Predicts
Meanwhile, the Senate is not expected to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote, according to a senior Democratic aide. The aide said, "There is a difference between constructive fixes designed to improve the law and bills that would gut it," adding, "The Upton bill is the latter" (Bolton, The Hill, 11/15).