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Shaheen's choice: Her Obamacare albatross

November 02. 2013 4:28AM

Despite his promises, President Obama knew all along that Obamacare would pressure your health insurer to change or cancel your coverage, or your employer to drop it. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen knew it, too, at least since late 2010, if not earlier. And she voted back then against a bill that would have let you keep your coverage if you liked it.

Obamacare mandates that all insurance plans issued after the law took effect contain a series of specific benefits. Plans in place before the law took effect were "grandfathered" in - as long as they were not significantly changed. Here is the catch: Administrative rules defined those changes so broadly that most grandfathered plans would be eliminated.

Insurers make alterations to plan coverage every year. They might drop a particular drug or procedure, raise a premium, or make any number of modifications. This is standard practice. The administrative rules on grandfathered plans were written so that many of these standard changes would trigger removal of the "grandfathered" status.

NBC News reported last week that as early as July of 2010 the Obama admninistration was fully aware of what would happen.

"Buried in Obamacare regulations from July 2010 is an estimate that because of normal turnover in the individual insurance market, '40 to 67 percent' of customers will not be able to keep their policy. And because many policies will have been changed since the key date, 'the percentage of individual market policies losing grandfather status in a given year exceeds the 40 to 67 percent range.'

"That means the administration knew that more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them."

Republicans saw those rules and tried to prevent the catastrophe that everyone knew would come. They proposed a bill in the U.S. Senate that would block the implementation of the rules, thus allowing people to keep their plans. As CNN reported on Friday, every Democrat in the Senate, including Jeanne Shaheen, voted against it.

Shaheen voted for Obamacare, then voted against letting you keep your insurance plan if you liked it. On the opposite page, former Democratic state Rep. Susan Price of Barrington explains in an illuminating column how Obamacare is affecting her family coverage for the worse. Price's story is just one of what will end up being millions. Every one of them was predicted. Jeanne Shaheen ignored the predictions, choosing to side with her party over her constituents. What do you think should be the consequences of such a choice?

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