House OKs Bill To Allow Businesses To Keep Canceled Health Plans
The House on Thursday voted 247-167 to pass legislation (HR 3522) that would allow insurers to continue to sell employer-based health plans that do not comply with the Affordable Care Act's minimum coverage standards through 2018, the Washington Times reports (Howell, Washington Times, 9/11).
President Obama initially issued an administrative fix allowing individuals to keep health plans that did not meet the ACA's requirements in November 2013, following reports that millions of U.S. residents were being notified by their insurers that their existing health policies would be discontinued in late 2014 because they do not meet the requirements.
Earlier this year, the administration extended the administrative fix, which now allows people to renew such plans until 2016, with coverage lasting in some cases until September 2017 (California Healthline, 8/14).
Details of House Bill
The House-passed legislation would go further than the President's administrative fix by allowing small businesses that did not previously have plans that do not comply with the ACA's coverage requirements to purchase such coverage. Insurers would only be able to sell such plans if they were offered prior to 2013 (Harrison, "On Small Business," Washington Post, 9/11).
Twenty-five Democrats -- several of whom are among "the most vulnerable" in their re-election bids this November -- voted for the measure, according to The Hill's "Floor Action."
According to "Floor Action," the Senate is not expected to take up the legislation.
In addition, the White House issued a veto threat, saying that the measure would "roll back the progress made because of the [ACA] and would allow insurers to deploy practices such as charging businesses more when a worker has a preâ'existing condition or when it has more workers who are women than men."
Bill sponsor Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said, "This legislation is about keeping a promise and doing right by the American people."
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) called the bill "nothing more than another political attack on the [ACA]" (Marcos, "Floor Action," The Hill, 9/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.