House Democrats Propose ‘Landrieu-Lite’ Obamacare Fix

Posted November 15, 2013 at 11:04am

House Democrats are calling their fix for President Barack Obama’s unfulfilled “if you like it, you can keep it” insurance promise “Landrieu-Lite.”

The Democrats will try to replace legislation by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., in a vote on the House floor Friday afternoon with their own plan to let insurers keep offering plans for another year.

Like a bill by Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., the House Democrats’ plan would allow individuals to preserve canceled health insurance plans that do not meet the standards of the 2010 health law. Unlike her proposal, however, the House Democratic alternative would not let people keep their plans permanently.

“Therefore [it] prevents any long-term, harmful impacts on the Affordable Care Act,” according to a House Democratic leadership aide.

It also would leave it up to insurers to extend their plans, unlike the Landrieu bill, which requires them to do so.

According to the aide, the proposal would require insurers to notify customers of options and benefits available in the health insurance exchanges and consumer protections not provided under existing plans. It would also give Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and state insurance commissioners the authority to go after “bad actor” insurance companies and take corrective measures against “excessive, unjustified, unfair, and discriminatory rates.”

The plan is designed to limit defections from within the caucus by members who are facing difficult re-election bids in 2014, plus those who are simply fed up with the Obama administration’s rocky rollout of the 2010 health law. Democratic leadership argues that Upton’s bill represents just another Republican attempt to undermine Obamacare, and the White House vowed Thursday night to veto it.