USA TODAY: Let people keep their coverage
My bill offers an escape hatch.
"If you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what." This promise from President Obama has been pervasive and unequivocal.
Yet I am hearing from countless concerned constituents in Michigan who are losing their coverage. They are joined by millions of Americans who took the president at his word and are now receiving insurance termination notices and alternatives that are often much more expensive. Making matters worse, the administration has known that many health plans would be forced to end under Affordable Care Act requirements, but the president repeated his promise even into late September.
The "Keep Your Health Plan Act" is a simple, sensible solution that would allow health plans being offered today to continue into next year. Particularly as consumers struggle with the error-prone online enrollment process, the Keep Your Health Plan Act is a voluntary escape hatch that would give added flexibility for Americans who truly want to keep the plan they have.
Implementation of the president's health care law has generated confusion and concern. That's not what health reform should be about. Americans deserve to know that in times of need, they will have the coverage and care that they want, need and can afford.
That is why the law's broken promises matter. "We'll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year" has been replaced with premium increases as high as 400%. Administration officials insisted the law would be ready Oct. 1, but a month later the website still does not work and has questionable security.
Investigating this law's implementation is about accountability, transparency and fairness. To those who say the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, I concur; that is why it needs the same scrutiny we give other programs that affect American citizens and consume taxpayer dollars.
Despite continued policy differences, I hope we can find common ground on keeping the promises the president made. Passing the Keep Your Health Plan Act with bipartisan support would do just that.
Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Click here to read the column online
Click here to read a copy of H.R. 3350, the Keep Your Health Plan Act