Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

House Passes Upton’s ‘If You Like It’ Obamacare Fix

A Republican proposal by Upton, second from right, to allow insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year passed the House on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican proposal by Upton, second from right, to allow insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year passed the House on Friday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House easily passed Republican legislation on Friday allowing insurers to keep offering old insurance plans for another year in response to President Barack Obama’s broken “if you like it, you can keep it” promise.

The bill passed 261-157 with all but four Republicans joined by 39 Democrats backing the bill sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. Those Democrats defected despite strong opposition from their party leadership and President Barack Obama, who, hours after the White House announced an administrative fix Thursday, vowed he would veto the Upton bill.

Democratic leaders feared throughout the week that the Upton bill would create a rift in party unity and give ammunition to Republicans to tout that both parties have lost confidence in the Obama administration.

Republicans touted the bill as a way to keep the president’s promise, while Democrats said it was designed to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

Democratic leaders crafted an alternative proposal aimed at giving cover to exasperated Democrats to vote no — including moderate 2014 “frontliners” — but that effort failed.

Unlike the Upton bill, the Democratic proposal, like Obama’s administrative fix, would not allow new customers to sign up for old plans.

And both proposals fell well short of a proposal by Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., that would force insurers to permanently keep around old plans for existing customers.

The Democratic proposal, sold as “Landrieu-lite,” also was aimed at ensuring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and state insurance commissioners can go after “bad actor” insurance companies.

During debate on the House floor Friday, the only Democrats who spoke about the Upton bill were those who opposed it, calling it tantamount to the 46th Republican vote to defund, delay or replace Obamacare since the GOP took over the House in the last Congress.

“I haven’t seen so much panic on the floor since 9/11,” said Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. He said it would create massive confusion in the market.

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., called the Upton bill a “trojan horse.”

“Republicans are on a mission of destruction,” said Ways and Means ranking member Sander M. Levin, D-Mich.

“This will accomplish nothing for the American people,” said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J.

Even Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who at a closed-door meeting with White House officials blasted the White House for the many glitches in the health care law’s rollout, took to the floor to blast the Upton bill.

“I led the charge in my caucus, I told my caucus, if the president doesn’t come up with a fix, if leadership didn’t come up with an alternative, many of us would vote for the Upton bill,” Doyle said. “The good news is, the president has responded.”

Republicans rejected the accusations.

“This [bill] protects the people, not a political party,” said Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., “not a president who doesn’t keep promises.”

Roll Call collected some of the highlights from the debate below:

JM Rieger contributed to this report.

  • susierosie

    Insurance companies love this bill and hate the democrats bill. That should tell Americans which bill is right for the health of the American people.

    • Richard Tebaldi

      Of course they (insurance co’s) hate it! They will lose money each year until they get the “REAL” costs covered. Obamacare is not telling us the truth and doesn’t want us to know what the real costs of his plan is. He’d scare the POO out of you and couldn’t get it passed if he told the real truth of the cost of ObamaCare! No due diligence by him!

  • shamu9

    What Planet are these Damn Dems From??

    • Layla

      The COMMUNIST planet.

  • Richard Tebaldi

    Obama has had too many chances already! IF he fixes the website I still see big problems with Obamacare. I don’t know when another problem will come up and I don’t trust Obama’s “fixes”! He’s screwed up too much, and cannot ask for “another chance”.
    Too many lies, too many apologies, no substance to his rhetoric, just apologies! Words without substance! Abolish Obama care, give it to a think tank to rewrite the bill and BEFORE we get sold another “derivative” like ObamaCare, I want it presented to taxpayers in clear english, not lawyerspeak, and complete discussion on every word. After that the entire bill should be offered to a vote to the American public. No more B.S.! We want control of the health care bill. You’re selling, a product. America wants to know what we’re buying before we buy. We are not like the Federal Government buying a product without doing due diligence. Get bids and ideas from others and compare cost vs. coverage. End of story. Giving out a contract with NO BIDS on the website proves Obama’s lack of forethought and concern and total disregard for taxpayer money he spent and will spend fixing his legacy. HE traded 47 million to a company who’s founders supported Obama’s election campaign without getting bids. Is that stupid, careless or sheer arrogance?

  • p8triotmom

    I want it repealed! This is a finger in the dike and people will forget all the lies, secret emails, foreknowledge of the truth, etc. of this administration. It may be just enough for the Dems to make it through the mid-term elections! Hopefully someone is working on a repeal effort. For their sake, I hope none of the four Republicans who voted against Upton’s bill are from Texas ~ or they’ll be gone.

    • mikem42

      It would be a whole lot better if Texas was gone. Nothing but big hats and little brains. Except in Austin, where they are educated. Old people need insurance, young people need insurance, veterans need insurance, poor people need insurance, you need insurance, Republicans as well as Democrats need insurance. What part of this don’t you get?

      • patrick coast

        Sure we do. We just don’t need it from the government. Unless you actually think people who can’t build working website in 3 years with 680 million dollars can successfully and efficiently administer your healthcare.

      • Tucker Peterson

        If Texas was gone. Where would all those people moving their biz from CA moving to Texas go?
        Texas has a balanced budget.
        People are flooding to Texas for a better life. FACT! I own all my $h!T including my ranch. Without me and the state of Texas your sorry @$$ would starve.

        • mikem42

          Well Tucker, we know that states have to have a balanced budget because of the state constitution. Most states enjoy clean air and water, except those that suck up to big oil, ala Texas. They also try to see that their citizens enjoy good health care, through insurance, as opposed to Texas. We got GWB from Texas, and look at the mess we got; you can claim him, but most see him as the worst president in their lifetime, if not ever. Light a match to the Gulf and watch it burn. And finally, Texas takes more from the Federal Government than it gives, and I personally would do just fine with or without Texas. I would just rather do without it.

          • sosueme001

            You’d die without Texas and Texans and their resources, capabilities and knowledge.

          • mikem42

            Yeah, and the world is only 5000 years old.

          • p8triotmom

            Oh Mike, I thought you knew better than that. Watch out or God’ll getcha :)

          • p8triotmom

            One more thing (or thang is the way Mike thinks we speak) . . . Lots of Americans finally admit that The Emporer Has No Clothes!

          • mikem42

            Well, mom. Y’all can’t spell too good.

        • p8triotmom

          Thank you Tucker! Texas’ economic picture is wonderful. Companies from both coasts and the north moving here because Texas is friendly to business. This state has so much going for it that we could cecede from the Union and hold our own – with no debt. We have two international airports and many mid-size for commuting, shipping, etc, Texas is centrally located in the country; between each coast and the north. Temperate climate, insurance, major IT firms, and other industries. It’s a great place to raise children. I worked in the relocation industry for years and most transferees were so happy to become Texans. Oh, and I moved here from the northeast years ago and love having “real” people for friends and neighbors vs. plastic liberal socialistic drones.

          • Tucker Peterson

            And a big Texas welcome to you. We are Texas proud, and some don’t like that we like to say it loud. Texan’s are so proud of the heritage, that our children have 3 years of Texas history. Already people have come here from Ca to Austin and got on the Education board trying to change what is taught here. But it didn’t work. I’m glad you like it here.

      • sosueme001

        Yeah, Texas and the Carolinas and Florida and all them other yay-hoo southern rednecks*….then watch you stupid yankees freakin’ freeze or starve to death (preferably both)!

        */end sarcasm

        • mikem42

          Obviously you’re not from Austin.

          • p8triotmom

            Wanna bet?

          • Tucker Peterson

            Austin has grown into the Texas hill country. What use to be hill country is now society.

          • mikem42

            Known for music and education, something we all need more of. Too much noise and ignorance around.

        • p8triotmom

          We can cut off our oil and gas pipelines that keep your hind ends warm. Plus, our high school football teams could whoop yours any day of the year. (couldn’t help myself – had to throw that in)

        • mikem42

          I know sarcasm, and this is not sarcasm. It is raw bigotry. Now, go visit the Alamo or something.

      • p8triotmom

        I will not dispute you that there are indigent people who need insurance and healthcare. What YOU don’t get is that your president and all his supposedly intelligent cabinet and teams had the chance to do a good thing but did not have the talent, intelligence or common sense to draw up a proper bill. They took their usual stance of, “we know everything, you can’t tell us anything,” approach. Most of them never ran a business, met a payroll, and no nothing about the corporate world and what works and what doesn’t. Even Dems coming up for re-election have turned on Obamacare; thirty-nine of them. One of them even called the ACA socialism! You’d fit right in down in Austin where the present motto is, “Keep Austin Wierd.” LOL about the big hats – your president wore one of those big hats on his visit to Dallas; now THAT was a case of all hat and no cattle (which is the true axiom).

        • mikem42

          Dear Pmom, You sound maybe to be reasonable, but not so sure you understand the truth. Millions of Americans need affordable health insurance, not just indigents. Factually, they already have Medicaid. All the jobs lost offshore took health insurance away, and the piddling jobs folks got now offer no health insurance, and we are talking good and educated folks. Everyone can’t work in the service industry at meager wages. Next, like it or not, Mr. Obama is not “my” president, he is yours and everyone else in this land who claims to be a citizen. I didn’t care for GWB, but never denied his presidency. The bill that finally came out of the House and Senate was so unlike the original, because of hundreds of changes, all to appease the right wing of the R’s, it is unrecognizable. A single payer plan, ala Medicare would work just fine here. It is shameful that this country doesn’t have universal health care. I have many Canadian friends, who we met in sunny Florida, and they swear by their health care system. No bills, no preexisting conditions, just treatment. Do they pay higher taxes for that privilege? Yes, somewhat, but no one goes without care or goes bankrupt due to health problems. If we would give up the regional civil war and work to make this happen, we would enjoy a better life for all. Happy Holidays, or Merry Christmas as we like to say “up here”.

        • Layla

          Vote them out. The Dems own this.

      • rr_nyc

        If you are talking stupid, start with Detroit, Chicago, Miami, LA, and San Fran.

    • Layla

      Millions want it repealed. Looks like we’ll have to Vote Congress OUT to do it. So be it.

  • John Buswell

    And … May I add the Insurance company will gladly take you back with a higher premium and without pre -existing conditions, but that said , it will be cheaper than Obummercare and you can pick a doctor that speaks english

    • mikem42

      Xenophobia much?

  • Rudy Socha

    Where can I read the actual bill that passed? I understand it contained a bunch of pork.

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