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Washington Beat: House Approves Its Own Bill To Fix Affordable Care Act

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TWC News: Washington Beat: House Approves Its Own Bill To Fix Affordable Care Act
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One day after President Barack Obama announced a fix to his health care law, the Republican-controlled House voted on its own plan, and while the president doesn't support it, the bill got the support of a good number of nervous Democrats. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.

Thirty-nine Democrats broke with President Barack Obama and joined with House Republicans to approve a bill that would allow insurance companies to continue selling plans that don't meet the beefed up requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Those Democrats represent swing districts and are clearly concerned about the political fallout of Americans being dropped from their health insurance plans.

New York's Tim Bishop, Dan Maffei, Sean Patrick Maloney and Bill Owens backed the bill.

"I do think we need to make a statement that people who want to keep their policies should be able to do that," Owens said. "At least, those who had policies as of October 1 should be able to keep them through 2014."

The plan goes farther than the president's fix, and Democrats charge that it would undermine the Affordable Care Act. That's because the bill would allow anyone, not just those who are losing their plans, to purchase the policies that are currently being dropped by insurance companies.

"They don't want to improve upon mistakes that may have been made, but they want to derail, to destroy and to eliminate and to repeal universal health care for Americans," said Rep. Charles Rangel, whose district covers parts of Manhattan and the Bronx.

Republicans counter that the president has a credibility problem after he repeatedly promised Americans that they could keep the health insurance they liked. Plus, they claim that the president doesn't have the power to change the law himself.

"The president may think that he can just unilaterally just amend laws or make laws. He's constitutionally wrong," said Rep. Michael Grimm, whose district covers Staten Island and part of Brooklyn. "Any good constitutional lawyer will tell the president he doesn't have the authority to do it."

The Senate is unlikely to take up the House bill, and the White House has said it would veto it, but that does not mean the debate is over. Some Senate Democrats in tight re-election battles said that they are going to push the Senate to vote on a legislative fix.

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