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Senior House Democrat favors letting Americans keep older health policies

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (2nd L) arrives for a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jo
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) (2nd L) arrives for a news conference at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The second-ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives said on Tuesday that Americans receiving health insurance cancellation notices because of Obamacare should be able to keep their plans, if the plans were created before the law was enacted in 2010.

Speaking at his weekly news conference, Representative Steny Hoyer said Americans should be allowed to keep their insurance plans if they like them, just like President Barack Obama had promised they could do when he began rolling out his healthcare program.

"I agree that people that purchased their policies prior to the enactment of the bill, which was when the representation was made, ought to be able to keep their policies," Hoyer said.

Hoyer was responding to a question about whether he agreed with former President Bill Clinton, who called on Obama to fulfill his frequent pledge.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got," Clinton said on Tuesday in an interview with Web magazine Ozy.

Millions of Americans face policy cancellations because their current plans do not meet minimum coverage levels required under the healthcare law, which mandates "essential" benefits including mental health coverage and maternity care.

Anger has intensified as many Americans discover they stand to lose policies that they assumed would be grandfathered under Obamacare. Insurance companies have been dropping policies purchased or changed since passage of the law if they do not meet its minimum standards.

(Reporting by Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Philip Barbara)

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