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News-14 Carolina - House Votes to Approve Bill to Extend Health Insurance Plans

News Article

Location: Washington, DC

By Geoff Bennett

The Republican-led House of Representatives voted Friday to approve a bill to extend the health insurance plans that were slated for cancelation under the Affordable Care Act.

The vote comes a day after President Obama offered a similar solution.

House Republicans, smelling blood in the water over the failed launch of the Affordable Care Act, brought another legislative fix to a vote Friday.

The measure passed with support from 39 Democrats facing tough reelection fights including Congressman Mike McIntyre.

It would extend for another year the health policies that were canceled under the president's healthcare law for not meeting new standards and allow anyone to purchase them.

The House vote came a day after President Obama announced a fix of his own. Scrambling to rescue his biggest domestic policy achievement, the president said Americans would be able to keep their existing health insurance policies through 2014.

"He wanted to get ahead of that and do some damage control. However, he is the president and that [fix] would be by executive order or some authority that he feels he has. That's simply not the way to do it. It has to come from Congress," said Renee Ellmers, (R) North Carolina.

The difference between the House Republican's fix and the president's solution is that the GOP version would let insurers sell existing health care plans to new customers. The White House says that President Obama would veto the House bill if it ever reached his desk, but it's not likely that it will.

On the House floor, Democrats said Republican outrage was misguided.

"Let me inform my colleagues that there was nothing in the Affordable Care Act that dictated to insurance companies that they had to send cancellation letters. Why don't we hold a hearing and call the CEOs of the insurance companies and ask them why they didn't send the normal letter indicating that you have the opportunity to have a modified policy that will comply with the Affordable Care Act?" said Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) Texas.

And after the vote, some Republicans -- who have opposed the healthcare law from the beginning -- felt vindicated by the wave of anxiety … and new support from some Democrats.

"Republicans have put forth 102 bills introduced in the House to fix it. Democrats only 17. So I see a lot of problems with this law, but I'm willing to work across the aisle to hopefully come up with a good solution," said Rep Mark Meadows, (R) North Carolina.,

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