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Health Care

Pressure Mounting for Administrative Fix to Insurance Cancellations

The White House is trying to find a solution before proposed legislative fixes threaten to disrupt the health care law.

(Richard A. Bloom)

photo of Sophie Novack
November 13, 2013

The White House is facing growing pressure from both sides to find a solution to the plan cancellations being sent as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

President Obama's claim that "if you like your health care plan, you can keep it" has come under a great deal of fire lately, as individuals receive cancellation letters from insurers that have changed their plans because they don't meet the law's standards. Officials are attempting to find a solution to uphold the president's promise without undermining the law or adding unrealistic costs, The New York Times reports.

Yet this is easier said than done, and a number of lawmakers under political pressure are turning to legislation that would require canceled plans to continue. On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California became the fifth Senate Democrat to formally support a change to the health care law so that those who like their plan can keep it, The Hill reports. The senator said she would support the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, proposed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. A similar bill, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., would prevent the cancellation of policies that don't meet the heath law's standards. The House is set to vote on the bill Friday, and some Democrats are expected to support it. House Democratic leaders remain united in opposition. 

 

The White House says that the Upton bill would undermine the health care law. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a nonpartisan policy think tank, released a report Tuesday saying that the bill would have severe adverse effects on the ACA. According to CBPP, Upton's bill would undermine insurance-market reforms under the law and encourage healthier individuals to remain outside the exchanges, thereby raising premium rates.

Former President Clinton added fuel to the fire Tuesday, when he said in an interview with OZY.com that Obama should honor his promise and let consumers keep their plans.

The issue isn't that simple. There's no easy fix to the cancellations, and these trade-offs are necessary to making health reform work, The New Republic explains. Yet the frustration will likely continue building until some kind of solution is found. The White House has not yet announced what an administrative fix might look like, and it remains unclear what one could be. 

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