How big a deal are the grandfather rules that the Obama administration released last week? Democrats claim they keep Obama's word that those who like their health plans can hold on to them, although Republicans argue they prove him wrong.
The new law exempts existing (or grandfathered) health plans from some new and upcoming requirements that are meant to protect consumers -- such as adding certain preventive benefits without charging consumers -- as long as they don't significantly raise premiums, make modest increases in co-payments or significantly cut benefits.
Health plans and employers would lose their exempt -- or grandfathered -- status if they raised co-payments by the greater of $5 or a medical inflation rate plus 15 percent. Deductibles couldn't go up more than medical inflation plus 15 percent. In addition, employers couldn't cut the amount of the premium that they contribute by more than 5 percent.
The administration estimates that the majority of people who get employer-sponsored health insurance through businesses with 100 or more workers (133 million Americans) won't see any changes as a result of the regulation. For small businesses, though, the prediction is that 70 percent will be grandfathered the first year, but only one-third over several years.