President Obama announced Thursday insurance companies will be allowed continue to provide existing individual healthcare plans that do not meet Obamacare’s requirements through 2014, after the midterm elections.
According to Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, the fix is largely a political move.
“Doubling-down on the same policy that’s responsible for more than four million Americans losing their health plans is irresponsible and does nothing to solve the problem,” Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee said in a statement after the president’s announcement. “Americans should be able to keep the insurance – and the doctors and hospitals – of their choosing, as the President promised.
“Dressing up the same failed policy and pushing it past the 2014 elections is cynical Washington politics at its worst,” he added.
House Speaker John Boehner said that the president has “no credibility on his promise” the House would move forward with a vote on the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” which would allow insurance companies to continue to provide and sell plans that do not meet the Obamacare requirements on Friday.
“True to form, it appears this is little more than a political response designed to shift blame rather than solve the problem,” Boehner added in a statement.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz urged her conference to vote against the “Keep Your Health Plan Act” bill in light of the president’s announcement on MSNBC.
“The President’s plan to allow insurers to offer their 2013 plans in 2014 is straightforward and fair – it will allow consumers to keep their plans if they like them,” she added in a statement. “As a result of the President’s actions, consumers will have additional choices and the information they need to make an informed decision about their health care.”
Millions of people losing their health insurance due to Obamacare since Oct. 1, demonstrating the falsehood of the president’s oft-repeated promise, “If you like your health care plan you can keep your health care plan.” The administration now faces plunging poll numbers and harsh criticisms.
The continued problems with HealthCare.gov and the relatively low enrollment figures in the Obamacare exchanges have further spooked Democrats — with a handful of Senate Democrats signing on to Louisiana Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act” a bill similar to the House’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act.”
“I’m encouraged that the President took action today to stop the cancellation of insurance policies that Americans were promised they could retain,” Landrieu said in a statement after Obama’s announcement. “I was particularly happy to see the notification provision included, which is an important part of the bill I have filed. I will be working today and throughout the weeks ahead to support legislation to fix this problem.”
Thursday Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet with White House officials about Obamacare’s launch.