published Friday, November 15th, 2013

House OKs insurance coverage plans that fall short of Obamacare rules

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., center, leaves the office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, before a vote on a measure to let insurers keep offering health coverage that falls short of the law's standards.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Va., center, leaves the office of House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013, before a vote on a measure to let insurers keep offering health coverage that falls short of the law's standards.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House has passed legislation letting insurance companies sell individual coverage to all comers, even if it falls short of standards set in "Obamacare."

The vote was 261-157, and came after GOP lawmakers said the bill would ease the plight of millions of consumers reeling from cancellation notices.

The White House threatened a veto if the measure eventually reaches President Barack Obama's desk. Democratic leaders worked furiously to minimize defections on the issue, while mindful it is likely to figure prominently in next year's elections with control of Congress at stake.

The vote came Friday as Obama arranged a meeting at the White House with insurance company CEOs, and as the industry and state insurance commissioners began adjusting to an abrupt change in policy he announced a day earlier.

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