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Walorski (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Donnelly
Donnelly, Walorski back distinct plans to address health plan cancellations
Posted on Nov. 16, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Nov. 16, 2013 at 2:32 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski voted for a measure meant to let individuals maintain health coverage that doesn’t meet Affordable Care Act guidelines.

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, meanwhile, said he backs a related — though distinct — measure in the Senate, yet to be formally considered.

Walorski, a Republican, voted on Friday, Nov. 15, for the Keep Your Health Plan Act, authored by U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, a Republican from southwestern Michigan. The measure, which President Obama has indicated he would veto, passed 261-157.

The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, has come under fierce criticism by some because insurers have been announcing the planned cancellations as of Jan. 1 of certain individual health policies that don’t comply with ACA standards. That, critics say, leaves some former policyholders in the lurch.

In response, the House measure would let insurance companies keep offering plans available as of Jan. 1 this year through 2014, even if they don’t meet the more rigourous ACA standards.

“Today’s vote represents a step in the right direction for Hoosiers and Americans across the country,” Walorski said in a statement. ”This common-sense legislation restores the broken promise President Obama made to the American people by ensuring they can keep the health care plans they like and need into next year.”

Donnelly, a Democrat, said in a statement Thursday that he backs a related Senate plan, the Keep the Affordable Care Act Promise Act.

That measure, which also stems from concerns about reports of individual insurance plan cancellations, would let insurers continue offering plans that would otherwise be cancelled as of Jan. 1. Unlike the House plan — which would let anyone purchase plans that don’t pass ACA muster — the Senate version would only let those who are already signed up for such plans keep them.

“I have said from the beginning that this healthcare law is not perfect, which is why I’ve repeatedly worked to improve it,” Donnelly said in a statement. “The problems with the website and canceled plans are unacceptable. That is why I am sponsoring legislation that would allow individuals to keep their current health plans.”

Obama had said those satisfied with their health coverage wouldn’t lose it because of the ACA, a claim contradicted by the recent reports of plan cancellations.

Follow reporter Tim Vandenack on Twitter at @timvandenack.