Pelosi Backing ‘If You Like It’ Obamacare Fix (Updated)

Posted November 14, 2013 at 10:30am

Updated 11:15 a.m. | House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi plans to endorse a legislative fix to remedy President Barack Obama’s broken “if you like it, you can keep it” promise — even as the president is set to announce his own plan for the health care law this morning, a Democratic leadership aide confirmed to CQ Roll Call.

At her weekly news conference Thursday morning, the California Democrat said she wasn’t prepared to speak about Obama’s proposed fix until after White House officials briefed the full caucus at a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon. She also wouldn’t explicitly support it.

Democrats are likely to pursue a two-pronged strategy that includes pushing Obama’s plan along with a proposal from inside the House Democratic Caucus.

Pelosi likened it to having both “suspenders and a belt.”

At a Democratic whip meeting earlier on Thursday, Pelosi said she would put her weight behind a proposal being spearheaded by Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., sources confirmed. Miller’s proposal would mandate that insurance companies keep existing health insurance plans until the end of the Obamacare open enrollment period in March.

Pelosi and the White House remain opposed to the legislation coming to the floor on Friday sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., that would allow insurances to revive plans that don’t comply with the Affordable Care Act.

Miller’s plan may come to the floor for a vote on Friday in the form of the Democratic motion to recommit amending Upton’s bill, the Democratic leadership aide confirmed.

Pelosi announced her support for Miller’s proposal at the weekly Democratic whip meeting Thursday morning, hours before White House officials were due back on Capitol Hill to provide another briefing to members — Wednesday morning’s meeting with Obama administration aides was tense, as Democrats expressed anger and frustration over the rocky implementation of the health care law they had expended so much political capital to pass.

Her endorsement of the Miller plan also came shortly after she appeared at a forum sponsored by The Atlantic, where she said the White House expects to unveil its anticipated “administrative fix” proposal to address the millions of canceled insurance policies unanticipated by the American people. Obama was scheduled to make an announcement Thursday before noon.

“I would prefer an administrative fix because it could be done much more quickly without any accompanying agendas,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi added that “we have our own proposal which we think is really good.”

According to a source in the room at the closed-door whip meeting, Rep. Jerrod Nadler, D-N.Y., wondered whether Miller’s proposal was the right one, given that a short-term fix could put members back in the same place on March 31 as they are today.

Miller’s spokesman, in an email to CQ Roll Call, demurred when asked whether his boss’s plan was a done deal.

“Democrats are considering a variety of proposals to ensure policyholders … have an opportunity to continue their plans, without causing steep premium increases for those participating in the Marketplace the way the Upton bill clearly does.”