Another non-red state Democrat — this time Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has signed on to become a
co-sponsor on legislation from Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that would require insurance companies to continue offering their existing health care plans.
Merkley joins Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) as surprise, bright-blue state Democrats that have become co-sponsors of the bill over the past day. Together, they amount to the most high-profile non-red state Democrats to buck party lines on the Affordable Care Act.
Landrieu announced Merkley’s co-sponsorship on Twitter:
Among other things, the “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act” would “grandfather” in all health insurance plans that existed as of Dec. 31, 2013, not March 23, 2010, and force insurance companies to continue to offer a number of plans that they have been forced to cancel under the Affordable Care Act.
Landrieu’s bill goes even further than one proposed in the House by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), which would allow insurers to grandfather in plans that existed as of Jan. 1, 2013. The Landrieu bill would force insurance companies to grandfather in those plans.
Customers in the individual insurance market are finding they cannot keep their current policies if they have changed since the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 and don’t meet certain minimum requirements of the law. Insurers are even cancelling some plans that they are legally entitled to continue offering because the law changes the economics of doing so.
The other co-sponsors of the bill are red-state Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). Like those three (but not Feinstein) Merkley is up for re-election next year.
The White House and Senate Democratic leadership have not offered specific comment on Landrieu’s bill.
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