WMUR: Shea-Porter signs on to GOP plan to let people keep health care plans
MANCHESTER, N.H. —U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, D-N.H., is signing onto a Republican bill that would let people keep their health plans that would otherwise be canceled under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.
People trying to sign up for new plans have faced problems and delays when using the federal health care exchange website. Some people who had plans that did not meet the requirements of the federal law were told by insurance companies that their plans would be canceled.
“It’s the same thing we have in New Hampshire right now, where Anthem has said people can keep their policy for another year,” Shea-Porter said. “So, I think it’s fair for the whole country to have that.”
Critics of the Republican plan have said that it’s just another way for opponents of the Affordable Care Act to undermine it. They also note that many of the plans being canceled provided inadequate coverage.
An alternative proposal has been floated by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., that would allow people to keep their plans, but insurance companies would be required to inform them why the plans are substandard and that they can enroll in qualified plans through the exchange.
Shea-Porter hasn’t going so far as to back a delay of the individual mandate, but U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte is continuing to call for a timeout on the entire law.
“It demonstrates there are structural problems with the law that goes beyond the website,” she said. “They are deeper than the premium increases that people are experiencing, and obviously, I want people in New Hampshire to keep their plans.”
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is sponsoring a bill to extend the enrollment period while backing Landrieu’s proposal.
“With them supporting this new legislation, we hope they are willing to admit they are wrong about other parts of the law and be willing to make some changes to what is really becoming a debacle,” said Greg Moore of Americans for Prosperity.
“We hope people keep an open mind on all pieces of the law,” said Lisa Kaplan Howe of New Hampshire Voices for Health. “This is a major reform, and with any major reform, some things work and some things don’t work.”
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., also took to the House floor, arguing in favor of allowing existing plans to stay in place for a least a year until the bugs are worked out.
Shea-Porter said she would only maintain her support for the Republican proposal if it’s not tinkered with before a vote on it scheduled for Friday.