Harper Introduces Bill to Let Americans Keep Their Health Care Plan
WASHINGTON—Today U.S. Congressman Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) introduced H.R. 633, the Patient Fairness and Relief Act of 2017, which allows individuals to maintain the health insurance policies they had before passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“While selling the Affordable Care Act, President Obama promised the American people that if we like our health care plan, we could keep our health care plan," said Harper. "Soon after Obamacare became law, millions of Americans received cancellation notices from their insurance companies. Put simply, the president’s words turned out to be untrue,"
According to the Mississippi Insurance Department, over 200,000 Mississippians found themselves in this situation. Not only would their policies be cancelled, these individuals would see average premium increases of 66% for new ACA compliant plans.
Beginning in 2014, the Obama Administration created a transitional relief policy which, contrary to the original law, allowed individuals and groups to maintain health insurance policies that did not comply with the Affordable Care Act. On three separate occasions, the Obama Administration granted millions of people across the country this temporary waiver from the damaging effect of losing their current health insurance plan. This is a clear example of how even President Obama recognized that the ACA was far from perfect and needed to be changed.
The Obama Administration refused to grant this relief a fourth time and without legislative or administrative action these policies would have to be cancelled at the end of 2017.
Harper stated, “This legislation will allow individuals who were granted the transitional relief policy to be able to keep their plans indefinitely, avoiding cancellations, premium rate increases, and helping to stabilize the insurance market for individual health plans.”
The Trump Administration can also grant this relief through executive action and may do so in the near term. It is hoped that this bill will encourage such action while also offering language for a permanent remedy.