- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 14, 2013

Congressional Democrats largely rallied behind President Obama’s shift Thursday to allow some people to keep their existing insurance policies for a year, but many said it still doesn’t go far enough to permanently fix the problems with the president’s signature national health law.

Sen. Mary Landrieu said Mr. Obama’s plan is a “first step” but said she will continue to push for a vote on her own bill to force health companies to continue offering their current plans.

“I’m going to continue to work with leadership, I’m open to working with Democrats and Republicans, if there’s a legislative step that’s also necessary,” the Louisiana Democrat, who is up for re-election next year, told reporters Thursday.

In the House, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrat, said she supports Mr. Obama’s move, but will also vote Friday for the House Republican bill that would allow people to keep their current plans.

“I support all reasonable solutions to make the Affordable Care Act work for hardworking Arizona families,” she said in a statement. “I will continue working with anyone who offers common-sense fixes to ensure that Arizonans have access to quality, affordable health care and the information they need to make informed decisions.”

Under the Affordable Care Act, millions of health plans that don’t meet new federal minimum standards for coverage will have to be scrapped next year. Insurance companies have sent out millions of cancellation notices to consumers, many of whom said they were happy with their plans and wanted to keep them.

Reacting to the outcry, Mr. Obama said Thursday he will let state insurance authorities decide whether or not to grandfather in more of those existing plans.

After the president’s announcement, both House and Senate Democrats huddled separately to talk about it.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, emerged from her caucus meeting to say her colleagues support Mr. Obama’s move.

“I can almost unanimously say the members were pleased with the president’s statement today,” she said.

Democrats are also working on an alternative to the House GOP bill.

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