News / USA

    US House Passes Republican Health Bill With 39 Democratic Votes

    Rep. Raul Labrador (2nd from L) and members of the House of Representatives leave after the Republican-controlled House voted to let insurance companies sell individual health coverage to all comers, even if it falls short of required standards in "Obamac
    Rep. Raul Labrador (2nd from L) and members of the House of Representatives leave after the Republican-controlled House voted to let insurance companies sell individual health coverage to all comers, even if it falls short of required standards in "Obamac
    Reuters
    In the most significant legislative rebuke to President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, 39 members of his Democratic Party voted for a Republican bill in the House of Representatives on Friday aimed at undermining his signature domestic policy.
     
    The measure from Republican Representative Fred Upton of Michigan passed 261-157. Thirty-nine Democrats, nearly a fifth of the party's caucus, supported the measure, which was seen as a test of loyalty.
     
    Many Democrats fear the botched rollout of the Affordable Care Act would hurt their re-election prospects in 2014.
     
    The bill was unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. Obama would veto the legislation if it reached his desk, the White House said, warning it would undermine progress by allowing insurers to sell new substandard plans that do not provide basic services and offer little financial help for catastrophic health events.
     
    House Democrats said Upton's bill was designed to sabotage the larger law.
     
    “They [Republicans] are perfectly satisfied with 40 million Americans having no health insurance at all,” said Representative James McGovern, a Massachusetts Democrat. “If you want to go back to a system where the insurance companies can turn people away because they are sick, by all means vote for this bill.”
     
    Obama, scrambling to rescue what was meant to be his biggest domestic policy achievement, on Thursday proposed a plan to allow insurers to extend by at least one year policies due to be canceled because they do not comply with new minimum requirements under the 2010 law, widely known as Obamacare.
     
    With several million people facing the prospect of having their existing policies canceled, Obama is trying to stem the damage to his credibility over his repeated promise that if people liked their policies they could keep them.
     
    The October 1 rollout of the program has been beset by technical glitches with the federal online insurance website that allows consumers to shop for policies. In recent days, HealthCare.gov's problems have been overshadowed by the controversy over the policy cancelations.
     
    U.S. Rep Ron Barber, a Democrat from Arizona, explained his vote for the bill.
     
    “I am frustrated and angered by the continuing problems with the health care website and I know Southern Arizonans are frustrated and angry, too.
     
    “Today I voted to give people the option to keep their current plan until these and other issues are resolved. That's only fair.”
     
    In an attempt to diminish that threat, House Democrats plan to offer their own plan that is similar to a bill from Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana, that would allow insurers to renew policies slated to be canceled, a Democratic leadership aide said.
     
    It would also give the Department of Health and Human Services and state insurance commissioners the authority to go after insurers for excessive, unjustified, or discriminatory rates.
     
    Obama was due to meet health insurance chief executives on Friday, a day after insurers expressed concerns about his plan to help Americans who are losing their current coverage because of his healthcare overhaul.
     
    Insurers complained Obama's fix could create new problems and lead to higher premiums. State insurance commissioners, who regulate the market, said they were also concerned.
     
    Insurers who said they would attend Friday's meeting include Aetna Chief Executive Officer Mark Bertolini; Patrick Geraghty, chief executive of Florida Blue; Humana CEO Bruce Brussard and Patricia Hemingway, chief executive of Health Care Service Corp. Scott Serota, president and chief executive officer of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, will also attend.

    You May Like

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.