Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) on Friday compared debate around a Republican bill aimed at letting people hold on to their health insurance plans next year to the political environment in Congress in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” sponsored by House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), would permit insurance companies to continue existing policies in the individual market, but not necessarily require them to do so. The insurance lobby and several state insurance commissioners have warned that such legislation, including President Obama’s administrative “fix,” could “destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers.”
“I haven’t seen so much panic on this floor since 9/11,” McDermott said before a vote on the bill.
“There will be nothing but confusion,” he added. “You have 50 insurance commissioners around this country who are going to be suddenly given a bill after we write some rules and regulations here that require the insurance companies to sell policies to people. I can’t believe what I’m hearing.”
“I thought the Republicans believed in the free enterprise system,” he continued. “This is socialism. This is government saying to insurance companies, you must sell a policy to somebody next year that you sold to them this year. When did we shift on the Republican side to the Congress telling an insurance company who they have to sell a policy to or what’s in the policy?”
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