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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid