In it, but not of it. TPM DC

House Dems To Offer Alternative To GOP's Obamacare 'Fix'

Budget-battle--44
AP Photo / J. Scott Applewhite

The text of the bill was not available Friday morning, but here's how a top Democratic leadership aide explained the "Landrieu-Lite" alternative:

In the case of health plans in effect for individuals as of October 1, 2013, insurers can continue such coverage for those individuals for 2014;

Requiring insurance companies to notify individuals of options available in the health insurance marketplace, premium and cost assistance available in the marketplace, and consumer protections not provided under existing plans;

The HHS Secretary and the State Commissioners have the authority to go after bad actor insurance companies and take corrective measures against excessive, unjustified, unfair, and discriminatory rates.

In further describing the first provision, the leadership aide said it would allow insurers to renew existing plans for up to one year, like the Obama "fix" does. The Landrieu plan, in contrast, mandates that renewals be allowed -- and permanently.

The second provision also mirrors part of Obama's own "fix" enacted administratively on Thursday. The third provision is an addition that doesn't appear in Obama or Landrieu's bill.

Unlike the Democrats' alternatives, the GOP bill, offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), would let insurers sell existing plans to anybody, even new policy holders, in 2014.

"Like Landrieu, House Democrats' proposal is targeted to those who have plans now instead of the harmful approach taken by Upton that instead allows insurers to sell substandard plans to millions of new enrollees throughout 2014," the Democratic leadership aide said. "Additionally, this Democratic alternative includes authority to go after bad actor insurance companies."

The aide stressed that the plan was "inherently different" from Obama's and more like Landrieu's because it was a legislative solution, rather than an administrative one.

A House GOP leadership aide mocked the Democrats' proposal as "a fig leaf, and a sham that will prove about as effective as a $5 umbrella in a hurricane."