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Administration noncommittal on proposals to keep current insurance policies in place

Tuesday - 11/5/2013, 2:29pm  ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As millions of people get notices from their insurance companies that their current health care policies will no longer exist, there are proposals from both parties in Congress for legislation that would keep existing insurance policies in place under the new health care law.

But a senior government official isn't saying whether the administration will support that legislation.

Marilyn Tavenner (TAV'-eh-nur), who heads the Medicare program, was asked about that during a Senate hearing today. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee pointed to President Barack Obama's repeated pledge that individuals who like their insurance policies would be able to keep them.

Tavenner said she hadn't read the legislation, and took no position on it. White House officials have declined comment as well.

The White House today is asking insurance companies to explain to Americans the cancellation letters they're receiving in the mail. Officials say chief of staff Denis McDonough made that request in a meeting with CEOs from some of the largest health insurers.

The administration has said that many of the people losing coverage will have better and cheaper options through the new health care exchanges.

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189-w-33-(Jerry Bodlander, AP correspondent, with Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn, and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services)--A senior government official wouldn't say if the administration would support legislation to implement the president's promise that people could keep their health care plan if they like it. AP correspondent Jerry Bodlander reports. (5 Nov 2013)

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191-a-06-(Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., ranking Republican, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee and Marilyn Tavenner, administrator, Centers for medicare and Medicaid Services, during committee hearing)-"Senator Johnson's bill"-Senator Lamar Alexander asks whether the administration would support the effort to let people keep their insurance if they like it.((cut used in wrap)) (5 Nov 2013)

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171-a-15-(Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., ranking Republican, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, during committee hearing)-"costs of Obamacare"-Senator Lamar Alexander says the reality of the health care law doesn't match the president's promise. (5 Nov 2013)

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169-a-07-(Marilyn Tavenner, administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testifying before Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee)-"almost no errors"-Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner says the website's performance continues to improve. (5 Nov 2013)

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APPHOTO DCSA108: Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013, before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing as the panel seeks reassurances about problems with the debut of the Affordable Care Act. Republicans on the committee emphasized their longstanding criticism of the law, citing examples of cancellations and increased costs while raising questions about cyber-security for healthcare.gov. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (5 Nov 2013)

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