Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is breaking rank with the Obama Administration by throwing her support behind a bill that would require insurers to continue offering coverage to current customers who are happy with their existing health plans.
Feinstein said today she’s co-sponsoring legislation introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.) because, well, it forces the Obama Administration to honor the President’s infamous –and broken – promise that, under Obamacare, people could keep their coverage if they liked it.
“This bill provides a simple fix to a complex problem,” Feinstein said Tuesday in a statement supporting the measure, which would require insurers to honor their current policies “indefinitely.”
Here’s the full text of that statement (H/T: San Francisco Chronicle):
I have decided to cosponsor Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) legislation: Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act. This bill provides a simple fix to a complex problem. This bill will extend the grandfather date for individual insurance plans so that individuals who have insurance policies they like can keep them indefinitely, unless the individual chooses another plan or the insurer stops providing health insurance in the individual market.
Specifically, the bill requires the following:
· Insurance companies must continue to offer—indefinitely—all currently existing insurance plans as of December 31, 2013, on the individual market;
· Future renewal notices must clearly inform customers they have the choice to keep their current plan or shop for insurance in a health exchange, such as Covered California; and
· Insurance companies must clearly state why the plan does not meet new minimum benefit standards.
Since the beginning of September, I have received 30,842 calls, emails and letters from Californians, many of whom are very distressed by cancellations of their insurance policies and who are facing increased out-of-pocket costs.
For example, a father from Rancho Mirage called and said: ‘I work three jobs to pay the bills for my wife and daughter. I got a letter that my plan is going from $420 to $943. I went to HealthCare.Gov, then Covered California. I researched my premiums. A policy almost identical to my old one is being offered for $863. I’m now being forced to come up with over $400 a month with 30 days’ notice. Let me spell it out: I do not have the income to afford this.’
Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet. We must ensure that in our effort to reform the health care system, we do not allow unintended consequences to go unaddressed.
I believe consumers should be allowed to choose their plans, and they should be adequately informed about those choices. Consumers must be told what their coverage does and does not include so families don’t find themselves paying for an insurance policy they believe is comprehensive when in fact it is not.
The Affordable Care Act is a good law, but it is not perfect. I believe the Landrieu bill is a commonsense fix that will protect individuals in the private insurance market from being forced to change their insurance plan. I hope Congress moves quickly to enact it.