Obamacare still gets little love

Democrats should be talking up its successes, but they're not

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Gallup finds that three of the largest drops in the rate of those without health insurance just happened to take place in states with the hardest-fought Senate races:

“Arkansas and Kentucky lead all other states in the sharpest reductions in their uninsured rate among adult residents since the health care law’s requirement to have insurance took effect at the beginning of the year. Delaware, Washington and Colorado round out the top five. All 10 states that report the largest declines in uninsured rates expanded Medicaid and established a state-based marketplace exchange or state-federal partnership.”

In Arkansas, the rate of uninsured dropped from 22.5 percent in 2013 to 12.4 percent now. In Kentucky, it dropped from 20.4 percent to 11.9 percent. In Colorado, it dropped from 17 percent to 11 percent.

The Kentucky example is particularly interesting. Remember, Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell still regards the law that created this drop in the uninsured among his own constituents as a “disaster.” Yet hundreds of thousands have signed up for coverage on the Kentucky exchange.

Despite this, his Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, continues to avoid engagement on Obamacare.

I understand the strategy. Ms. Grimes wants to avoid getting drawn into Washington arguments that could sully what may be her key advantage in the race: The contrast between Ms. Grimes’ newcomer status and Mr. McConnell’s decades inside the Beltway.

But it really is too bad that the Affordable Care Act remains so toxic in some places that Democrats can’t embrace its steep drop in uninsured as a major policy success — even in one of the most unhealthy regions in the country.

Even with Obamacare fading as an issue, Democrats still could lose control of the Senate. But if that happens, Obamacare might not be a major reason why — the makeup of the map and the economy could prove more important in determining the outcome.

Greg Sargent writes the Plum Line blog for The Washington Post.


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