The Wall Street Journal opines:
The president's "fix" is designed to limit such grandfathering, but that's why it is of dubious political help to Democrats. Within minutes of Mr. Obama's announcement, several Democratic senators, including North Carolina's Kay Hagan —whose poll numbers have plummeted in advance of her 2014 re-election bid—announced that they remain in favor of Landrieu-style legislation.
And the White House "fix" doesn't save Democrats from having to take a vote on the Upton bill. A yes vote is a strike at the president and an admission that the law Democrats passed is failing. A no vote is tailor-made for political attack ads and requires a nuanced explanation of why the president's "fix" is better than Upton's. Which it isn't. Politicians don't do nuance very well. This explains why the Democratic leadership on Thursday promised to soon introduce its own legislation that would "reinforce" the White House change (and, it hopes, provide its members better cover).
The White House "fix" was likely also groundwork to shift the blame for canceled policies to insurers and state regulators, trusting the public won't notice the difference between "can" and "may." It is highly unlikely that most insurers "can" rip up their business plans (rates, policies, eligibility, actuarial tables), get state regulator approval, reprogram their computers, send out notices and new explanations, give consumers time to think, and then re-sign people up in the one month that remains before the Dec. 15 deadline. But as Mr. Obama has now said they "may," and you can bet he'll blame the failure for this to happen on anyone but his administration.
If real grandfathering passes, it is the end of Obamacare.