Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) voted today against House Republicans' 46th attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Under the veil of "fixing" the problem of cancelled plans in the individual insurance market, House Republicans offered legislation today that, according to Speaker John Boehner, is part of their "strategy for stopping Obamacare." Himes voted for an alternative measure that allows current individual market policy holders to keep their plans without fatally damaging the new health exchanges, which have provided affordable coverage to more than 13 thousand Connecticut individuals and families.
"I share the frustration of my constituents whose health insurance plans have been cancelled by their insurance companies. I support the plan put forward by the President yesterday as a good first step, and I demand the Administration execute this plan effectively. I am committed to finding a solution that ensures all Americans have access to quality, affordable health coverage, and I appreciate the President working to keep his promise that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it," Himes said.
The plan put forward by President Obama to fix this problem allows state insurance commissioners to approve policies that do not meet ACA requirements, while preserving the viability of the affordable plans offered through health care exchanges.
The plan Himes supported allows insurance companies to continue offering their current plans to existing policyholders while requiring them to take steps to ensure that extending these policies does not increase premiums for others who purchase health insurance in the individual marketplace, a key provision not included in the House-passed bill. Importantly, the plan Himes voted for also requires insurance companies to notify consumers of the differences between these extended plans and the options, credits, and subsidies available through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges, as well as instructions on how to receive them.
The Republican Upton bill allows people who currently have no health insurance to purchase plans that do not meet ACA requirements. Those purchasing such plans would not receive many of the critical protects required by the ACA. Such plans also allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, which will result in unaffordable premiums in the health care exchanges.
"Unfortunately, the bill put forward by the House GOP today was just one more attempt to repeal health care reform and would likely raise insurance premiums," Himes said. "I supported a plan that will allow current policy holders to keep their insurance coverage but that does not undermine the protections created by the ACA, such as ending gender discrimination in the price of insurance, eliminating lifetime caps on health coverage, and making affordable health coverage available to people with pre-existing conditions."