New bill introduced by Dem senator: No, really, if you like your plan, you can keep it

It’s Mary Landrieu, who, until recently, was known to say how proud she is to have voted for ObamaCare and is now reduced to floating bills in the Senate that attempt to hold the president to the most basic promises he made when selling the bill.

She comes from solid-red Louisiana and is up for reelection next year, which is another way of saying that she too is deeply worried about losing something because of ObamaCare.

Sen. Mary Landrieu said Wednesday she would propose legislation to ensure all Americans could keep their existing insurance coverage under Obamacare, a fresh sign of the political problems the law’s rollout has created for congressional Democrats…

“The promise was made, and it should be kept,” Landrieu said in the Capitol Wednesday. “And it was our understanding when we voted for that bill that people when they have insurance could keep with what they had. So I’m going to be working on that fix.”…

Landrieu said that her bill would “grandfather” in soon-to-be-cancelled plans, even if insurance holders could find better policies through the exchanges.

Asked if she believed Obama wasn’t forthright with the public about the law, Landrieu said: “I didn’t think it was intentional” and said that the country would be “better off” if Republicans had tried to improve the law rather than repeal it repeatedly.

That boldfaced bit is the closest I’ve seen any Democrat come to recanting their vote. We’re not at that point yet but give it a few months, as the rate shock spreads and insurers start sweating over adverse selection problems driven by the website’s malfunction. Ironically, whether she knows it or not, Landrieu has in her own small way increased the odds that things will get worse for the law politically, not better: She was one of the 10 Senate Democrats who signed a letter to Sebelius last week calling on her to extend the enrollment period next year past March 31. Not only would that probably be illegal, the prospect of healthy young uninsured people being granted even more time to stay out of the risk pool is starting to give insurers the shakes. “If you can enroll at any point in the year, then you can just wait until you get sick,” noted one analyst. That’s right, and that’ll drive insurers’ costs up, which means either premiums will go up on everyone or HHS will need to bail the insurers out from the added cost. For all of Landrieu’s supposed pride in ObamaCare, she doesn’t seem to care much now about keeping the pieces in place that are needed to make this thing kinda sorta “work.”

And yet, in spite of it all:


Perceptions of ObamaCare are actually rosier now than they were this summer. The only explanation I have for that is that we’re in a partisan holding pattern while the first few months play out. Democrats are circling the wagons because they know Obama’s big “achievement” is wounded, but if the website isn’t fixed next month and the media coverage about rate shock turns even more sour, people will start to peel away next year. That’s Landrieu’s bet too, I assume, or else she wouldn’t have introduced her new bill, which is wildly off-message from this week’s rotating Democratic talking points of “it wasn’t a lie, it was a slight exaggeration,” “losing your plan will be good for you,” and “it’s the GOP’s fault.”

Speaking of which, via Newsbusters, here’s dopey Bill Maher stumbling onto the truth in arguing that Obama lied about keeping your plan because he knew O-Care wouldn’t have passed if he didn’t. To Maher, that’s a criticism of Republicans: If only they hadn’t opposed O, he wouldn’t have been forced to deceive people. Lord only knows how far he’s willing to extend that principle. Exit question via Ross Douthat: Why did Obama and his regulators at HHS make the rules disqualifying “grandfathered” plans even harsher than they had to be? I’ve been assuming it’s because they wanted to maximize the revenue from middle-class people being forced into more expensive “comprehensive” plans, but if O ever really did care about holding costs down, granting grandfather status to more plans that focus on catastrophic coverage would have done that better than the current scheme.