The “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” sponsored by Kate Upton’s uncle Fred Upton (R – Mich.) was approved by a vote of 261-157, with 39 Democrats joining the Republicans to vote in favor of the measure. The bill would allow insurers to continue to offer plans for one year to both new and existing customers even if they don’t meet the Obamacare one-size-fits-all mandatory standards. President Obama has vowed to veto the bill, but a number of red-state Democrats in the US Senate, where the measure heads next, favor similar legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D – Nev.) opposes the bill, however, and may not allow it to even come up for a vote.
President Obama repeatedly declared that “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” when he was selling healthcare reform via the Affordable Care Act to the American people, but this is not holding true for those who buy their insurance directly on the individual market. Millions of them across the country have been booted from their plans.
The flurry of cancellations has prompted a national outcry. Because of the controversy surrounding the cancellations (which will increase once the employer mandate kicks in after 2014), the president announced an administrative fix on Thursday that allows Americans to keep their existing insurance plans for one additional year, provided that state insurance regulators go along with it. Many lawmakers contend that selective enforcement of Obamacare by the Executive Branch is unconstitutional, thereby making action by Congress necessary. According to law professor Eugene Kontorovich, “The ‘fix’ amounts to new legislation — but enacted without Congress. The President has no constitutional authority to rewrite statutes, especially in ways that impose new obligations on people, and that is what the fix seems to entail. And of course, this is not the first such extra-statutory suspension of key Obamacare provisions.”