The health care fix

Posted at: 11/15/2013 1:22 PM
By: Tracie Potts, NBC News

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC NEWS) -- In Washington, house Republicans are expected to vote on a fix today that would allow Americans to keep health plans that have been canceled.

Millions of Americans who have their insurance plans canceled because they don't meet minimum standards are up in the air this morning, as Washington tries to come up with the way to make good on the President's promise.

Republicans have one version - Democrats have another. "It is complementary to what the President has done," said Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D) California.  

Under pressure to keep his promise, President Obama proposed that insurance companies extend canceled health plans for one year.

He says those plans may be cheap but don't cover much "They get sick and suddenly the insurance company says 'Oh, I'm sorry, you owe $50,000 and that's not covered,' said President Barack Obama.

But the administration cannot force state insurance commissions to extend or reinstate those plans. Some have already said they won't.

The insurance industry complained it's wrong to change the rules in the middle of the game. "This is nothing more than the President throwing the potato, the hot political potato, about cancellations back to the insurance companies and he puts them in a hell of a mess," said Robert Laszewski of the Health Policy & Strategy Associates.  

Insurers would have one month to compare old and new plans for five million consumers, and try to get them all covered by the beginning of the year.

Insurers warn leaving younger, healthier people on cheaper plans may force them to raise premiums on everyone else.