House of Representatives Passes 'Keep Your Own Health Plan Act'

Democrats join GOP in passing bill that would allow consumers to keep their pre-Obamacare plans for one year.
23:14 | 11/15/13

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Transcript for House of Representatives Passes 'Keep Your Own Health Plan Act'
This is a special room. I'm Dan -- New York where this ABC news digital special report the aches the pains grow. For Obama care right now. The House of Representatives is voting on any keep your health plans act. Congress members say that it will fix the Obama care policy and allow people to flee their -- President Obama proposing his own -- yesterday on his promise of if you like your health care. You can keep it. The house's version is much more broad but neither the fixes will not be easy and especially some consumers. -- frustrated even more so ABC's Karen -- Washington with the latest on that scare. Good afternoon Dan already there is considerable skepticism that the president's -- and what is being considered -- in the house can actually get anything done there is no guarantee that any American that lost their insurance plan because of the new standards under obamacare can now get it back with these fixes. And yesterday the president indicated that responsibility now falls on the insurance companies. -- an Obama's so called fix actually work. Yesterday the president vowed to change the rules so the millions of Americans who've had their health insurance plans canceled. Can be offered their old plans for one more year this -- won't solve. Every problem for every person. But it's gonna help a lot of people. But even that may be wishful thinking. Cancel plans now have to be re priced and filed with state regulators for approval then it's up to state insurance commissioners to implement the change. The whole process usually takes months. Already one state Washington has said it's not a viable fix. Today at the White House President Obama meets with insurance company CEOs. The industry's top lobbyist warned yesterday that changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market. Result -- higher premiums for consumers. The house will vote today on a measure that would allow Americans to keep and even continue to buy health care plans that were scrapped under Obama care. HR 3350 offers a legislative solution to help Americans. Get a lifeboat. A life raft out from under the crushing weight of this law some Democrats under pressure from frustrated constituents had been threatening to revolt. Yesterday's announcement by the president gave them cover but it may not be enough. I think he's provided an opportunity in a window that gives the on his opponents much more room to maneuver in this and it gives his his people it's a -- Very hard -- -- defending. Polls show that Americans have lost trust in President Obama and -- yesterday he said he knows he has a lot of work to do to win back credibility. Wellcare and that begs the question then what does the president what does the White House say they are going to be doing to rebuild credibility well Dan it's in the the most obvious thing is to get this website working -- -- that couple days away now from that deadline that they have imposed in November 30 where they say that the web site out cared about. Wouldn't be working for the vast majority of Americans now of course there are still indication that that is not going to happen -- their new technical glitches that keep coming up but. Every administration official keeps coming out trying to reassure people that they have are working on this 24 hours today and they are going to fix -- if if that happens -- in December of people can actually go on -- the web site. Start -- enrollment process and get coverage that could actually boost President Obama and he can turn around and say see we knew this could happen we knew that this. Could fix things for people and we're trying to get -- -- under control but of course that is still a big AF. And if that doesn't happen the president is really gonna have a hard time trying to make this argument the American people that this is going to keep working. Big if being pushed by a lot of determination at the White House Karen thank you for that. Well for more on what is going on in the house and the possible changes to obamacare want to bring it ABC's -- -- on Capitol Hill. Customary Bruce outside the White House and our political director Rick clients and -- well. Jeff -- to start with you with what's going on in the house it's essentially to allow people to keep any existing health care coverage right. It is -- the interesting thing is. To -- at the outset this bill will never become law why is that because they a White House issued a a increasingly common veto threat on these health care bills and they said look the president will veto this but what we're watching for today Dan as the politics of this. How many Democrats are break away from the president point. As separate themselves from the party and actually vote with Republicans on this this would allow. I'm Americans who have received those cancellation notices to keep their own -- -- at least it would promised them that there would be able to keep their own plan. And Democrats are jittery on this that -- they believe that this roll -- has been a disaster both in policy and in substance and politically. And they are eager to. Add a vote against Obama care to their voting records they know that they're voting records on. On this issue are going to be front and center in the mid term election campaign next year and they want to add their voice is just something that. Would -- fixes so were told by senior democratic aides on the house side that. That they are bracing for defections from. At least a couple dozen members may be more the White House tried to keep this to a minimum -- yesterday it was one of the reasons we saw the president to giving us. Very extraordinary a -- -- but they're going to lose some democratic votes today again. Well and I want to have -- and that may be a little more as far as at first -- with how we're gonna see the democratic aside and go forward on this. Is it a significant enough population that democratic leaders are saying we're gonna have to -- some -- -- -- counter to this despite the fact that this. Is obviously facing against a White House veto. They are going to. Up with some type of a -- -- this and that well we'll keep the democratic defections so much slower than they would have been a normally. The Democrats are going to come -- with some type but the fix that would have put a shorter window on this but there -- so many proposals now. On the house side of the capitol as well as on the senate side of the capitol. That would allow Americans to keep their insurance. You know those -- sub par plans if you will 41 year for two years in definitely some people wanna go much farther than this house bill being proposed right now that would just -- -- keep their plants through 2014. But the White House believes that that this would really pumps start eroding at the heart. Of the Affordable Care Act they believe that any changes legislatively along the way simply opened up the door to more changes and I'm watching right now -- -- that. The house members will just begin to come in and they're going to be voting on this in the next I'm over the next twenty minutes or so so we'll find out soon. Counting how many Democrats are defecting but the White House has tried to keep this to a minimum that they know that. It's going to be impossible to hold everyone firm on this this is so this is at least the 46. Maybe the 47 vote to fix or defund or delay or do something to the Affordable Care Act. But this is the first one that will likely get some democratic support him. The president has always made light of that kind of running tally and you almost wonder if there's a big dry erase -- hanging up in the Oval Office. Checking up every time with different alleging continue watching the buses they're going to be coming in there and obviously update us as we've been getting results and but marry it jump into this because obviously this is -- the the president did not want. Absolutely the White House thinks that this bill would fundamentally gut obamacare. Now the president has issued that veto threat that Jeff mentioned. And remember the that he's proposed this administrative fix that the president outlined yesterday. Is just a one year solution that would allow those people that are in the individual market they're being dropped from their coverage because they don't need to -- obamacare standards. To keep those plans for a year this bill would go way beyond that this would allow insurers to sell those sub standard plans to new customers. And really what it is a much broader fixes that would -- Undercut the the overall intention of the dollar -- -- of Health Care Reform and that's what the White House is pointing out here that unlike the president's limited fix this would go way away about it beyond. Above -- BI and -- Rick -- -- bring into that because obviously what happens in Washington has done for a couple of reasons and there's always a political response to that the president -- He fumbled the ball but he lost credibility with Washington they put this into perspective how big of an impact is this happening. Let me let me extend the analogy for a second -- probable o'clock. Running down -- with members of his own team ready to jump to the other set of sidelines this is a very bad time for a very bad fumble -- seeing it play out on the house floor as we speak. But this is a critical moment for obamacare if it does not work -- this website doesn't get fixed by November 30 we're -- -- see. Not just defections but an outright revolt in the Democratic Party and we're gonna see a law. On the back and that may not work if people don't sign up in sufficient numbers the whole structure of obamacare starts the fall apart so this is such an important time it's a very inopportune time for a turnover in president Obama's formulation and it's a very important time for him to turn things around -- start to move that ball down the field. -- -- often -- the message that's coming out of DC doesn't necessarily reflect the sentiment actually of the public for which that message is intended for. Kind of give me a temperature if you will how the public's response has -- for the Affordable Care Act because it certainly has changed dramatically over the past couple months. As the White House has made a much more concerted effort. Not only clarify the policy but also to potentially make some adjustments to it. All of these problems -- botched rollout is really impacted the public support for obamacare we've seen in the latest poll out today 55% of those surveyed. Say that they disapprove of the Affordable Care Act but beyond that it's really impacting the president's own approval ratings we're seeing those -- and that's what I -- Really one of the reasons that the president came out and put forth that -- -- yesterday trying to show that he's taking charge of this issue addressing some of these problems. But all goes beyond that not only -- the approval rating slipping. But the American public is starting to question the president's honesty his trustworthiness. For the first time ever last week pulled him out saying that a majority of Americans questioned whether or not they can trust the president and that is a big problem for this way. Rick I want to bring you into this -- -- -- kind of dive into a little more deeply than it is that from Republican push horses from it simply America's response to. The use and perhaps the on a bill -- ability to use the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have kept us on the agenda but it is Americans and he's. Very little consequence Republicans feel like they've made a lot of headway just getting -- on record but mostly all they're doing now is getting out of the way of obamacare on its own. The president was forced into this press conference not buy anything. That Republicans have said or done over the last three and a half years threat back -- this has been a failure of a launch of the website still doesn't work. That people losing their health coverage to separate big problems both of which undermine this president's credibility and the functioning of the law. Jetliners and is a few things -- -- on in the house right now what's happening. Well -- interestingly. Republicans of course control the House of Representatives. And they have just devoted to blocked the democratic alternatives so what that means is. Democrats were hoping to have an alternative bill. A -- of their own if you will so people could vote for that instead of this but Republicans have just voted on a procedural vote. To block that so that is taking away any political cover the Democrats thought they would. Have on this so I believe if this keeps going -- Democrats are more likely a few more Democrats are more likely to vote for this bill. Beating -- put forward by representative Fred Upton. You know a lot of legislative sausage making going on here. The end of the day this is all about one thing it's about the 2014 midterm elections. About Republicans keeping track of how Democrats are voting on this bill. And I think -- Rick it's absolutely right -- Republicans are trying to get out of the way here. And dislike Democrats sort of fumble for themselves we'll see how -- that works. The Republican Party has had a a a difficult. Time in recent years the challenges of staying out of the way -- It in some respects they can't help themselves I talked to a senior. Republic in a congressional -- this morning he's been around -- long time again he says I hope we can just to be quiet and let the Democrats hang themselves. A bit about crude expression that he means in political terms so we'll see if that actually happens here but right now. I've not seen Democrats as worried as jittery. Over this issue. Has something here -- a long time again what what about that's the house what about the senate. -- mean the senate -- of course the Democrats control the senate and Harry Reid the senate majority leader will have a difficult decision to make. And that will be will he bring forward one of these many bills to put a legislative fix. On Obama -- the White House is hoping that. That they do an administrative fix if you will that means not crack it open and make a new law. But Harry Reid as senator Reid will face a lot of pressure from his democratic members. To let them vote on something senator Mary Landrieu Democrat of Louisiana one of those Democrats in a key. Tough reelection fight next year. She stepped forward yesterday and said -- what the president said was an interest -- first step. But we need to go farther -- actually go farther than this house bill she would allow Americans to keep their insurance plans indefinitely. Now a lot of Democrats think that would go too far it would undermine the whole Affordable Care Act but. Senate Democrats also want to do some type of vote on this perhaps in the coming weeks so that is a difficult decision here. For a senator Harry Reid if he's going to allow that type of a vote. But they need to let this pressure out and show. Their constituents that they are trying to fix the affordable care how does that saying go all elections are local something a -- a local and you can just you can tell which Democrats are are facing tough reelection battles by looking at who is sponsoring these bills -- Kay Hagan. A first term Democrat from North Carolina it's a red state she is a a blue Democrat she is in favored some of these bills Jeanne Shaheen Democrat of New Hampshire classic swing state. Mary Landrieu. And others down the line here so Newton in. Democrats. Only a month ago it's important participant in -- into perspective only a month ago the government shut down. Was just about to lift -- a month ago tomorrow actually as -- look on my calendar here. And Democrats thought that they had. Things they're golden. Road pay for them that -- that Republicans it had so damaged their brand -- things changed a lot. In a month and now Democrats are very much on the defensive again. It's an interesting dichotomy is it because oftentimes we hear the fact that it takes so long to get something done in Washington and yet. How quickly the tides turn in -- -- -- what every minute talk about sort of the logistics of this because I was the insurance companies have spent a lot of time a lot of energy a lot of money. To change their policies change their premiums to the new system are they willing then to either go back or make additional changes. Well that's the big question here today we know some insurers came out yesterday and questioned the president's proposals. They said that it could destabilize the marketing could end up resulting in consumers actually paying higher premiums the president is now meeting with some. Insurance CEOs here today the White House later this afternoon trying to get them on board -- to agree to go ahead. And support this proposed -- of his but it is a big problem and we had yet to see how this. Patch of his we'll actually be implemented and whether or not it can work. Rick and on that point then Rick comic I'm guessing that those are up for reelection in 2014 are going to be pouncing on that. That's right -- in this agent Jeff is right that you can track exactly who's up for reelection based on. Where they are on this when he fourteen politics such a big part of this I've heard from selling over the congress they make that. The point is not a -- one president his second term as the only person as part of this who is not on the ballot again that's easy for him to give advice on the political front he was apologetic yesterday I think that was -- sincere sense of apology that he was conveying to his fellow Democrats that does not help them on the ballot next year that is first and foremost in the minds of so many Democrats even those not on the ballot. Those who know that they have to keep their leadership posts based on the balance of power. Jeff you've got to -- from the country little announcement if you could kind of expand on that -- how exactly this fix would shake out of it because ultimately. It would fall to the states in order to re offer those cancel policies. Who wet the what's the likelihood that all fifty are going to be taking that. -- -- -- -- -- -- that is very slim actually we have all. Already seen some of these state insurance commissioners basically -- Look this is not workable Washington State generally a democratic state a liberal leaning state. The the officials are suggested that this is not I'm something that that we can now work out the train has left the station basically so. State by state by state some states likely would. Allow this to happen but. What the president was saying yesterday was more of an aspiration. More of you know say I'm I'm trying to allow you to keep your insurance plan but frankly it's a little bit out of out of his control as Rick and others have been reporting. Mean V. The White House does not have a full control over this so. What the president was doing yesterday by in giving this big. -- -- -- and that's something -- Degree that I've not seen him do talking about his credibility in Mary's right. His trust that is the exact reason why he was doing this trying to get people to see that he is you know trying -- Doing his best at. To fix this that was all about politics he was trying to repair that a broken politics of this here but substantively. Speaking the White House has side. -- has very little controller only partial control over the state by state by state decision stand. What is it -- a kind of to dovetail on that I mean how intrinsically tied is the policy. And the rollout. So the only way to the policy works is -- people sign up -- sufficient numbers the only Peta people sign up is that this rolls out. We have a deadline now in the next two weeks a self imposed deadline for fixing the web site. If it is not fixed by that point if you still can't sign up for obamacare it's impossible to see a scenario. Where people are able to sign up in sufficient numbers for the entire health care system to operate the way that obamacare envisages so we think about this we had about a 100000 people sign up in the first month of operation Dan. For the White House to be able to reach its goal over the first six months of this law we would have to have some -- 4648000. People every day signing up we know that they're not able to sign up right now in those kind of numbers we know that. They're nowhere close to fixing the sight to waiting to. And if you don't see those numbers -- the entire idea of remaking the insurance markets of expanding the pool to bring in people that are able to pay for their own health costs like this. Then it starts to fall apart that's why this role as important and that's when you hear people say this is more than a web -- they're right but the website is just such an important piece of it. Mary the White House obviously it is is is on his balance of taking responsibility but at the same time deflecting blame. For some of the problems that were associated with this. It was really interesting to see yesterday it and every single time almost that the president fell on his sword we heard him apologize over over and try to take responsibility but he also was deflecting a lot of that. He can blame the insurance market he blamed. The cumbersome federal government. He said that he wasn't properly informed of the problems with the website so yes while it is a very big deal to see the president come out like he did yesterday and take responsibility apologize for these problems and say that the buck stops with him. It's also important to look at the fact that he's not only taking all of the responsibility and he is trying to share some of that blame and spread around a bit as well. -- and mayor Anderson you where to cut you loose because. Press Secretary Jay Carney is going to be holding his press press briefing is the moment we will let you go to that but -- stay with because I want to talk about what President Clinton say coming out as that was and that President Obama should be keeping his promise. How much of an impact -- that. I think that crystallized. Democratic opposition to them probably embolden a little bit that Democrats are coming out -- saying. If this is just not right we have to do something about it -- added to the ranks it freed up some folks who may have questioned whether they're gonna go out there against the White House. But that was bubbling and building before the president for for the former president. Came out -- senate and I think all that contributed to that extraordinary announcement we saw yesterday from the White House in advance of the votes today. Knowing that Democrats were defecting in large numbers he needed to respond he needed to react it wasn't just a couple of scattered -- Democrats this was a large number of folks who frankly felt misled by the White House they're telling being used to go on record and say that they needed to put distance between themselves. And President Obama on on his signature accomplishment -- -- President Clinton made it okay for them to do so I think it was an important moment. It -- -- in last -- Carolina ask you about this and Jeff of you can weigh in as well because it has been an interesting. A year that there have been a couple of points that have been made by the White House some off. Remarks they -- somewhat of a problem for the president. The Red Line remark on Syria not not -- -- negotiate -- the shut down and now if you like your health care you can keep it Rick. It is is cumulative effect. Or these are separate instances and as it is trying to play out -- guess we're seeing these poll numbers. I don't think there's a lot of similarities in directly in those in those incidents but that -- line to my mind is something else the president acknowledged yesterday which is that he is still at this stage of his presidency learning a lot about the federal government even about the presidency. He's been there for five years and he expressed wonderment. About B I T procurement procedures at the White House that -- -- learning now the federal government -- -- very good about setting up a website learning now about how complicated the insurance market is. I think -- all all along with the eroding credibility that we discussed the fact that the president is acknowledging that. Somethings are just too complicated. And he he's learning about them even at this stage of his presidency that's extraordinary I don't remember previous presidents. I was such a -- acknowledgment and I think it's just another source of the democratic frustration we're seeing today. And -- selling watching the house what is happening. -- -- -- house is still voting -- on the first step procedural. Portion of this bill the final vote on on the -- substance of this will be coming out shortly. And we know that it will be coming up surely this is a legislative time because it's Friday. And it's about. I'm early afternoon at some how 1 o'clock eastern time so we know that these so lawmakers want to get back home to their districts this is the last piece of business -- today for emily's voting wise so. The vote. -- that we are watching will be coming up -- -- momentarily what they're voting on right now. I'm if you can CDX on the floor is just demotion to. Appeal the rule of the chair which is a procedural. A matter that well. And not affect the final outcome of this we'll see the final vote here coming up shortly again. Our we will let you continue to watch that -- -- thank you so much for your time Rick Klein you as well thank you very much search and of course who continue to live stream -- that vote and Jay Carney as press briefing hates taking place at the White House and we have a complete report right here on abcnews.com. For non Dan Cutler New York with this ABC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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