Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters that are going out.
In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it.
“The District of Columbia is an island surrounded by reality. Only in the District of Columbia could you get away with telling the people if you like what you have you can keep it, and then pass regulations six months later that do just the opposite and figure that people are going to ignore it. But common sense is eventually going to prevail in this town and common sense is going to have to prevail on this piece of legislation as well,” Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said at the time.
“The administration's own regulations prove this is not the case. Under the grandfathering regulation, according to the White House's own economic impact analysis, as many as 69 percent of businesses will lose their grandfathered status by 2013 and be forced to buy government-approved plans,” the Iowa Republican said.
On a party line vote, Democrats killed the resolution, which could come back to haunt vulnerable Democrats up for re-election this year.
Senate Democrats like Mary Landrieu, Jeanne Shaheen, Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich – all of whom voted against stopping the rule from going into effect and have since supported delaying parts of Obamacare.
The rule set up the criteria for what insurance plans would be grandfathered, or exempted, from the new Obamacare requirements. Democrats argued then that the rule was necessary to insure that insurance companies weren’t able to drastically change their plans and still remain exempt from Obamacare.
Republicans are “saying that basically we will grandfather it in, but the insurance companies can change it however they want, and you are stuck with it,” Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa said in 2010.
The rule essentially prevents insurance companies from keeping their grandfathered status if they make changes to their plans. In practice, insurance companies are loath to leave their plans unchanged so grandfathered plans are disappearing, and people are being forced to change their plans to meet Obamacare’s more robust coverage requirements.