Senate Turns Aside Health Plan Grandfathering Status Repeal

September 29, 2010 ( – The U.S. Senate has rebuffed an effort by a key Republican to overturn the provision of the recent health-care reform law exempting grandfathered health plans from following the law’s mandates.

Business Insurance reported that the bill, S.J. Res. 39, was turned aside on a party-line 59 to 40 vote.

Senator Mike Enzi, (R-Wyoming), who is the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said in a statement before the vote that he was pushing for the grandfathering provision to be repealed because so many plans would be unable to meet the law’s standards to be given that status.

Enzi quoted a Department of Health and Human Services estimate that by 2013, up to 80% of small company plans will lose their grandfathered status.

“The reality for many, under this new regulation, is that if you like what you have, you can’t keep it,” Enzi said, in the statement.“Without this resolution, many small businesses will have to drop health insurance for their workers because of this Obama Administration regulation.”

According to Enzi’s statement his bill was backed by a host of business groups including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the National Association of Manufacturers and  the National Retail Federation.

“I know it’s going to be the trend,” said Senator Ben Nelson, (D-Nebraska) after the vote, referring to Republican attempts to roll back pieces of the law, according to the Congress Daily Web site.

Ninety percent of companies said in a Hewitt Associates poll released earlier this summer that they anticipate losing grandfathered status by 2014, with the majority expecting to do so in the next two years (see Majority of Firms Expect to Lose Grandfathered Status under Health Reform).