Enzi demands do-over on healthcare grandfathering clause

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) on Wednesday began urging his colleagues to demand a vote on a resolution of disapproval to overturn the grandfathering clause of the healthcare reform law.

The provision exempts existing employer-sponsored plans from a number of provisions in the new law, such as having to offer benefits without cost-sharing. But some business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, argue that the grandfathering regulations are too strict and would lead to many employers losing their right to offer their current plans.

"Throughout the health care debate, the President continually promised, 'If you like what you have you can keep it'," Enzi said in a statement. "The grandfathered health plan rule breaks the President’s promise."

An Enzi spokesman clarified that the senator wants federal regulators to revisit the grandfathering clause and make it "better tailored to the needs and demands of small businesses."

The Department of Health and Human Services released preliminary regulations in June. They state that plans would lose their grandfathered status if coinsurance and copayments increase more than a specified amount, for example.

According to HHS estimates:

_ 40 percent to 67 percent of individual policies will lose grandfathered status by 2011;

_ 34 percent to 64 percent of large employer group plans (100 or more employees) will lose their grandfathered status by 2013: and

_ 49 percent to 80 percent of small employer group plans (three to 99 employees) will lose their grandfathered status by 2013.