A press release from Sen. Mark Udall's office today:
Citing the concerns of Colorado families recently notified of their insurance companies' decisions to cancel health plans, Mark Udall introduced common-sense legislation today that would allow Americans in the individual insurance market to retain their current health insurance. This bill keeps faith with consumers who want the option of maintaining their current coverage and follows Udall's continued efforts to make sure the health law works better for Coloradans.
"I have repeatedly said that the Affordable Care Act isn't perfect, and it will need to be improved as it is implemented. This common-sense bill ensures the health reform law allows Coloradans to maintain insurance coverage," Udall said. "I share the concern that some health insurance companies are choosing to cancel thousands of Coloradans' plans. That's why my common-sense bill will allow Coloradans the option to keep their current coverage if they want or to purchase new plans through the Connect for Health Colorado marketplace that may better meet their health care needs."
The Continuous Coverage Act would:
Ensure that consumers have the choice to keep their current health insurance coverage — despite any cancellation notices — for a full two years through December 31, 2015.
Help smooth the transition from our current system to the newly-crafted health insurance marketplaces.
FOX 31's Eli Stokols has more coverage of Sen. Udall's proposal:
As Democrats on Capitol Hill are growing increasingly angry with the White House over problems with Obamacare — and increasingly uneasy about their individual fortunes heading into 2014 — Colorado Sen. Mark Udall Wednesday became the latest Democratic lawmaker to introduce legislation to change the beleaguered Affordable Care Act, FOX31 Denver is first to report…
“We’re protecting the stability of the insurance market in the exchange while allowing people to hold on to their current plans a little bit longer,” Joe Britton, Udall’s deputy chief of staff, told FOX31.
This proposal is being floated just ahead of a major meeting of Senate Democrats at the White House tomorrow. Democrats are aware that startup troubles with the Affordable Care Act could play hell with deadlines consumers are under. As the exchange's troubles delay signups, unease grows–especially for the 5% of policyholders in the individual and small group markets making up the vast majority of cancelations. Republicans are eagerly exploiting that unease both among those actually seeing policies canceled and, via misinformation, everyone else.
On the other hand, so-far paltry Obamacare enrollment numbers are certain to improve as the marketplace websites get fixed. What's more, nobody is counting the hundreds of thousands of consumers who have qualified for Medicaid as a success for the exchange, even though those are people without health insurance who will have it on January 1st. As these admittedly troubled startup narratives today get resolved in the coming weeks, Republicans are going to run out of ammunition to keep their shrill attacks on the new law going.
Where does that leave Udall and this proposal? That depends on how this all resolves. At the very least, he looks today like someone in search of a constructive solution, to be distinguished from Republicans who are simply trying to dismantle the entire Affordable Care Act. If these startup problems continue and a stopgap measure of this kind truly becomes necessary, Udall looks prescient. In the more likely event that the situation stabilizes, he still can claim credit for being responsive.
Above all, Democrats should have a little trust in Udall to chart the right course through a politically complicated situation. To prevail here, there's a need to acknowledge the difficulties without conceding ground to reform's intractable opponents. We believe that's what Udall is trying to do.