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House Poised To Vote On 'Keep Your Health Plan Act'

NPR icon by Bill Chappell
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Charles Dharapak

The House of Representatives is set to vote around midday Friday on a Republican bill that would allow Americans to keep their existing health insurance plan if they're happy with it — even if their plan runs afoul of the standards in the Affordable Care Act.

We'll update this post with the results of the vote and other news.

The measure targets a key criticism of the new law, which has been blamed for cancellation notices sent to millions of policyholders. But critics say the bill would destabilize the nascent health care plan marketplace created under what many call Obamacare.

The White House has said President Obama would veto the House bill if it were to reach the Oval Office. But many political observers are watching to see whether any Democrats cross party lines to side with Republicans during Friday's vote, which The Washington Post called a "loyalty test."

Obama sought to address concerns over the cancellations Thursday, when he announced that people with policies that don't meet the new health care law's standards would be allowed to keep them for another year. Most of the cancellations had been scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

The president has acknowledged problems with the law and its trouble-plagued rollout. Last week, he apologized to those who had lost their policies. But he has also insisted that despite those troubles, the law itself is sound.

"We fumbled the rollout on this health care law," Obama said Thursday.

Just before Obama spoke yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner told journalists that he's skeptical of the White House's solution.

"This problem cannot be papered over by another ream of Washington regulations," Boehner said. "Americans losing their coverage because of the president's health care law need clear, unambiguous legislation that guarantees the plan they have and like will still be allowed."

The GOP bill, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., would not only allow insurers to renew individual plans that don't meet the law's standards, it would also the companies to sell them to more people.

Sen. Mary Landrieu may introduce a similar bill to the House legislation. That version is said to include a provision that would keep insurance companies from selling new policies that don't meet requirements.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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