Friday, November 15, 2013

House Passes Upton Bill, GOP Obamacare Alternative; Two Arizona Democrats Vote Aye

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a bill to allow health insurers to renew non-conforming policies and to sell them to anyone else interested (aka "The Upton Bill").  The bill passed 261-157, with 39 Democrats voting along with the Republicans.  Two of Arizona's five Democratic Representatives - Reps. Ron Barber (D-CD2) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) - voted along with the Republicans.

Many Democrats were in favor of an alternative that will be considered in the Senate that is more along the lines of what President Obama proposed yesterday - allowing policyholders with plans that are being canceled to renew them for another year.  The Upton bill expands that and allows insurance companies to sell those non-conforming policies to people who do not currently have them;  opponents believe that that will torpedo the heart of the health insurance reform law widely known as Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.

Barber and Sinema are both in very close, swing districts.  Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) is also in such a district; she voted "nay".

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) did not participate in any of the votes today.

The bill's chances in the Senate are iffy, and President Obama has promised to veto it if it gets to his desk.

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