The House approved legislation Thursday that would let people keep their health care plans if they like them, with the help of 25 Democrats.
House Republicans called up the bill in an attempt to make President Barack Obama's famous promise come true, that people who like their plans can keep them under the 2010 health care law.
President Barack Obama broke his promise that people could keep their health care plan if they liked it, and the House, with help from 25 Democrats, passed legislation Thursday to fix the problem. (AP Photo/Darren Hauck)
That promise was broken, after it became clear that the health law imposed new standards that forced insurance companies to cancel non-compliant plans. Those actions led to severe GOP criticism of both the law and Obama, who they said mislead the American public when he was pitching the legislation.
But while Republicans have been the most vocal, they weren't alone in supporting the bill. In the final vote, 25 Democrats voted with the GOP, allowing it to pass 247-167.
Under the legislation, any plan that was in existence before Obamacare took effect could be sold until the end of 2018, and used through 2019. Republicans said this simple fix is the best way to make Obama's promise come true.
"This bill is a necessary tool for America's workers that will allow for health insurance coverage in the small group market during the 2013 calendar year to be continued to be offered through calendar year 2018," said Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.). "In other words, if you like your group health insurance plan, you can keep it."
Democrats cast it as another attack on Obamacare, and a chance for insurance companies to eliminate some of the protections that Obamacare requires companies to provide to their workers.
"If enacted, this bill would allow insurance companies to discriminate against small businesses if they have an older workforce, more women in their workforce, or if any of their employees or their children have preexisting health conditions," said Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.). "The impact is taking away from millions of workers key protections and puts insurance companies back in charge of their health care."
While many people are faced with the prospect of being forced into new plans with much higher health insurance premiums, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said the bill would be "bad for consumers."
But Republicans pounded away on the argument that Obama's famous promise was a lie unless the bill passes.
"If you like your health care plan, under this bill you would be able to keep your health care plan," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). "We would be helping the president to fulfill a promise that he broke. Let's get back on track and let's fulfill that promise."
Some Republicans argued that Democrats only seem interested in dictating Americans' health care choices, and have no interest in hearing the many complaints people have lodged against how the law is working.
"I am amused my colleagues across the aisle seem to think the American worker doesn't know what is best for herself, her family, or her business," said Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.). "It just amazes me they have so little regard for the average American. They feel like they must tell the average American what is best for them."