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Amid Turmoil, US House Votes to Alter Health Care Law

  • Cindy Saine

Polls show that President Barack Obama’s credibility has taken a hit because of promises he made concerning his landmark health care reform act. The president had assured Americans, “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” But now, millions of people are seeing their health care insurance plans cancelled because they do not meet the higher standards under the law. Some of the president’s Democratic allies in Congress are distancing themselves from him, and Republicans in Congress are seeking to take advantage of the turmoil.

In a raucous session, the Republican-controlled House passed a bill to extend certain insurance plans.

Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn said, “We have heard from Americans from coast to coast that they do not want the president’s health care law.”

Some Democrats said the House bill was just the latest of many Republican attempts to undermine the president and his health care law. Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said, “This is a cynical, transparently political bill, oppose it.”

But 39 Democrats voted with Republicans to change the law.

On Thursday, Obama admitted “Obamacare” is in trouble. "'We did fumble the ball on it. And what I'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed.''

The president announced his decision to extend some insurance plans for one year.

Andrew Leonard is one of those who lost his health insurance. He said a new plan would cost him three times as much, and would cover the cost of medical care for children, something he does not need. “I don’t have any kids, and when I do have kids, I would probably get their own insurance plan or change it at that point. Why do I have to change it now?”

Technical glitches with the government’s health care website have caused headaches for millions of Americans. Elayne Burke said she spent hours trying to sign up for a plan on the website. She finally succeeded, but it was not what she hoped for. She said she wants to avoid a repeat of last year when she had big medical bills after almost losing a finger. “...if I had the finger happen again, I would still not be in great financial shape paying for that. So it’s really not universal health coverage.”

The president's credibility has suffered serious damage, according to analyst Stu Rothenberg. He said that will have an impact on Democratic candidates in next year's mid-term elections.

“Every Democrat from a swing state or a Republican district or state is looking to say 'it’s not my fault, I was misled, the President lied to me, here’s a fix for healthcare that we need to adopt,' " said Rothenberg.

If the website is fixed, however, and millions of Americans sign up for health plans, Rothenberg said public opinion could shift again.

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