There are those on the left that believe ObamaCare is a winning issue for Democrats. They believe Democrats should run on this issue in this November’s mid-term elections. Not surprisingly, one of those is Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee Chairwoman. In an interview with CNN’s Candy Crowley, when asked if Democrats would win running on ObamaCare she responded, “I think, actually, Candy, that Democratic candidates will be able to run on ObamaCare in the 2014 mid-term elections.”
Some Democrats, and even some in the liberal media, may believe that but the actual candidates running for re-election don’t share that enthusiasm. Since every Democrat in Congress in both houses voted for ObamaCare, they are already on record supporting it. Some may be bold enough to embrace it, but most are trying to walk back that support by saying they’re in favor of “tweaking it” to get it right.
Karl Rove, former senior advisor to President George W. Bush, hopes all Democrats embrace it, but cautions GOP candidates who are eager to attack this issue. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Rove tells Republicans it is not enough to attack Democrats for supporting the law; they must point out it’s pernicious effects on ordinary Americans.
Ironically, many of the people who elected President Obama are going to suffer the most under ObamaCare. This would include the young, especially. ObamaCare calls for “community rating” of insurance which means young people are charged higher premiums to pay for the older and sicker Americans. The cost of an insurance premium for younger Americans can be five times the actual cost of providing that insurance. This despite the fact that many older workers actually make more money than these young people.
There’s more bad news for young people. ObamaCare has adversely impacted the job market due to the costs associated with full-time employees. As a result there are fewer full-time jobs and more part-time jobs. In June, the economy added a net of 288,000 jobs, but this was the result of America losing 523,000 full-time jobs and replacing them with 799,000 part-time jobs. Only 12,000 of the 288,000 new jobs added last month were full-time.
One of the many broken promises of President Obama was that health insurance premiums for families would go down $2500 per year. Reality is that premiums will rise more than that same amount. Recent analysis from the think tank America Next revealed that between 2010 and 2013 individuals suffered $6,388 and families $18,610 in higher premiums because of ObamaCare’s failure to reduce them as promised.
ObamaCare will also hit seniors hard, although the effects are not yet obvious. The law took $716 Billion from Medicare funding over the next ten years. This will result in lower payments to doctors and hospitals, which will lead to greater difficulty finding treatment. Popular programs like Medicare Advantage are being slashed, which will raise expenses for those seniors who lose their plans. The full impact has not been felt yet only because President Obama unlawfully delayed the law’s cuts to Medicare Advantage plans until after the mid-term elections.
The White House strategy to reduce the negative impact of ObamaCare has been to delay the impact of its onerous provisions until after the elections. Republicans need to remind voters of these pernicious effects; those in effect now and those soon to come.
But most people are already skeptical of ObamaCare. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found only 15 percent of Americans believe ObamaCare has directly helped them. Twenty-eight percent say it has directly hurt them. Fifty-six percent say it has had no effect on their lives, but most of these are people with employer-provided health insurance. They will begin to feel the impact when their employers begin cancelling their insurance plans after January 1, 2015 when the delayed Employer Mandate will take effect.
Some are judging the importance of ObamaCare as an election issue based on the number of ads being run by the GOP that focus on this issue. Heidi Przybyla offers this bit of evidence: “Those seeking to unseat the U.S. Senate incumbent in North Carolina have cut in half the portion of their top issue ads citing ObamaCare, a sign that the party’s favorite attack against Democrats is losing its punch.”
But David Harsanyi, writing in The Federalist says she contradicts her own story when she also tells us that GOP groups have plans to re-focus on ObamaCare as soon as premium increases for 2015 are announced. Even without this re-focus a quarter of all political ads in North Carolina attack ObamaCare specifically.
This issue is particularly strong in Colorado where incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall is fighting for his political future. In Colorado, 335,000 people had their plans cancelled as a direct result of ObamaCare. A Quinnipiac poll in the state found 60 percent oppose the law; 68 percent of Independants, 53 percent of women, and 61 percent of people under the age of thirty. These are particularly bad numbers for Democrats in a state that elected President Obama twice and was the site of his coronation at the Democratic Party Convention in 2008.
Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post pointed out an important New York Times/Kaiser poll result in four Southern Senate races. One of the poll questions was, “Is it possible you would ever vote for a candidate who does not share your views on the 2010 health care law, or is this issue so important that you would not vote for a candidate who disagrees with you?” In all four states, North Carolina, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky, the majority said they would not. That bodes poorly for Democrats, especially incumbents who are on record in support of the law.
Republicans must not allow the liberal media to distract them from hammering home this crucial issue to voters. They must explain why this law is bad for Americans and what they will do to replace it with something better.
(For more on Republican alternatives to ObamaCare see ObamaCare Alternatives That Work – 5/27/14)