Despite veto threat, House OKs health law change

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- Democrats who voted against a House bill weakening a core component of the new health care law say the Republican-backed measure is just another in a long line of attacks against the law.

But 39 Democrats broke ranks today and supported the legislation. The final vote was 261-157.

Neither the new policy President Barack Obama announced yesterday nor the bill passed in the House on Friday would ensure that anyone whose individual policy is canceled will be able to keep it. Instead, both would permit insurance companies to sell coverage renewals if they wish -- subject to approval by state insurance commissioners. Both allow insurance companies to sell health coverage that falls short of new federal standards. But the House measure goes one step further, giving insurance firms the ability to sell individual plans to new as well as existing customers.

The vote came shortly before President Barack Obama welcomed insurance company CEOs to a White House meeting to discuss the law and its changes.

The House measure faces an uncertain fate in the Senate, where Democrats seeking re-election in 2014 are leading a move for generally similar legislation. The White House has threatened a veto.

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