Merkley: We Didn’t Understand What Our Bill Would Do

by Jim Geraghty

This is an admission you don’t find every day:

In a telephone interview, [Oregon senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat] said that he and other supporters of the 2010 law failed to understand that it didn’t have strong enough “grandfather” provisions ensuring that people could keep policies that existed at the time.

“It was a significant failure to understand that the grandfathering had this flaw in it,” said Merkley, “and now that it’s recognized, we’ve got to fix it.”

The senator added that “we just didn’t fully understand” that during the three years before the new law went completely into effect, many people would migrate to other coverage or be forced off these grandfathered plans.

If only he had listened to the Congressional Budget Office:

CBO and JCT estimate that relatively few nongroup policies would remain grandfathered by 2016.

Or Representative Eric Cantor (R., Va.):

The Obama Administration has been issuing further restrictions against those previously protected plans. The result, by the Administration’s own estimates, will be a loss of 49 to 80 percent of small employer plans, 34 to 64 percent of large employer plans, and 40 to 67 percent of individual insurance plans.

Or Senator Mike Enzi (R., Wyo.):

Throughout the health care debate, the President continually promised, “If you like what you have you can keep it.” The grandfathered health plan rule breaks the President’s promise.

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