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PA Dems Hold Ranks Against Obamacare Changes

Allyson Schwartz
Allyson Schwartz

A GOP bill to alter the Affordable Care Act and allow individuals to keep existing insurance plans passed the House of Representatives Friday,  261-157.

39 Democrats sided with Republicans in favor of Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-MI) ‘Keep Your Health Plan’ Act, while four Republicans voted against it.

No member of the Pennsylvania delegation voted against his or her party’s position, yielding a final Pa. vote of 13-5. There were no abstentions.

The ‘yes’ votes from Democrats mostly came from those who are vulnerable in 2014. No Pa. Democrats are considered vulnerable by campaign committees in either party.

The vote follows weeks of headlines about individuals forces out of individual health insurance plans, primarily because those plans did not meet ACA coverage criteria.

Following his vote, Jim Gerlach (R-Chester) said that without the recent bill, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would have penalized Americans.

“I voted for the ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act’ in hopes of stemming the flood of cancellation notices, which have been piling up in mailboxes and causing unexpected financial hardship for far too many people in my District and across our country,” Gerlach said.

“People should be allowed to keep their insurance even if the President can’t keep his word.”

Gerlach opposes unilateral action from the President to correct the ACA and still hopes for a full repeal of the law.

Keith Rothfus (R-Allegheny) also expressed his pleasure that the ‘Keep Your Health Plan’ Act passed the House.

“It is unfair that Western Pennsylvanians are losing their health care plans. Today’s legislation is one more step the House is taking to address the harm caused by President Obama’s health care law.”

At the time of publication, no Democrat from Pennsylvania had issued a statement about the vote.

Barack Obama has threatened to veto this bill but has instituted an executive order that would allow insurance companies to keep existing customers on plans that don’t meet ACA standards.

He said the exception would weaken the overall health care bill.

While Matt Cartwright (D-Lackawanna) is a supporter of the Affordable Care Act, he criticized the Obama administration’s recent position.

“[The White House] knew very well that they had to give us something different to support because simply stone-walling about the president’s promise and why it wasn’t kept was not going to be an option.”

Cartwright conceded that the President’s order “has given us something else to get behind. It’s not perfect, but it’s something, and more than anything it’s an acknowledgment that a promise was made and we like to honor our promises.”

Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery) was the most interesting vote to watch. The vote could be a liability in a 2014 general election matchup against Gov. Tom Corbett, but she must first must navigate a Democratic primary.


2 Responses

  1. Why should the Democrats apologize for the greed of insurance companies? Why should insurance companies be rewarded for betraying their customers?

  2. Democrats need to develop backbones! Didn’t the November election teach you ANYTHING?? I’m beginning to lose faith in my party and am seriously looking at independent, PROGRESSIVE parties that will stand by their (and MY) convictions.

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