Obamacare will be Democrats’ undoing come election time

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In the 34 states which will conduct elections for the U.S. Senate in November, voters prefer the Republican candidate, 50 percent to 42 percent, according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll March 4.

Democrats currently hold 21 of these seats. Republicans need a net gain of 6 to take control of the Senate. Up to 14 Democrats could be vulnerable.

To preserve some Democratic scalps, President Barack Obama announced last week another delay in enforcement of the Obamacare provision requiring cancellation of “substandard” health plans.

It was to have gone into effect Jan. 1, but to keep the bad news from millions of Americans until after the midterm elections, the president announced a one year “moratorium” last November.

He’d overlooked the provision requiring insurance companies to send out cancellation notices 90 days before they go into effect. The notices would have had to go out by Oct. 1, creating “a firestorm for Democratic candidates in the last, crucial weeks before Election Day,” said The Hill newspaper.

The two year “moratorium” announced Wednesday “tends to undermine the sustainability of Obamacare,” insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski told the New York Times. This was the 35th time Mr. Obama has delayed or modified a provision of Obamacare, which he has no legal authority to do. Only Congress may alter a law passed by Congress.

It will conceal from some Americans for a while the bad news in store for them. But a stay of execution is not the same as a pardon. Mere postponement won’t mollify the millions worried about what Obamacare portends for their health insurance policies, their choice of doctors,their jobs.

Obamacare has hurt us personally, said a third of respondents in a Rasmussen poll March 1. Just 14 percent said they’ve benefited from the law.

If the Supreme Court rules in June the language in the Obamacare statute that says subsidies may be paid only to those who sign up for health insurance on state exchanges means that subsidies may be paid only to those who sign up for health insurance on state exchanges, the number who’ve benefited will plummet.

Bad news doesn’t get better with age.

“Democrats may be setting themselves up for a really unpleasant time in 2015 and 2016,” said Jonathan Tobin of Commentary magazine.

“If the majority of Americans are already unhappy with Obamacare today, that anger will be even greater next year once more employers and individuals are coping with its costs and hardships,” Mr. Tobin said.

Democrats control the Senate, 55-45. But if Obamacare were brought to a vote there today, it surely would lose.

Vulnerable Democrats have been spared difficult votes because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev, won’t bring to the floor bills passed by the House to delay or reform Obamacare.

If — as now seems likely — Republicans win control of the Senate in the midterm elections, Democrats will be spared those votes no longer.

The president, understandably, clings to his “signature legislative achievement.” But each time he (illegally) postpones or modifies a provision, he implicitly acknowledges it is badly flawed.

Mr. Obama doesn’t have to run again. Why — when their constituents hate it so much — are Democrats who do sticking with Obamacare?

It may be paralysis, brought on by sheer terror, the deer-in-the-headlights look so many exhibit when asked about Obamacare suggests.

Another sign of panic and desperation are the despicable — and politically counterproductive — attacks Democrats have made on the seriously ill who’ve complained they’ve been hurt by Obamacare.

Democrats are reluctant to admit error, and to make amends for it, for fear that if they do, they’ll pay a stiff price in the midterm elections.

But if they refuse to acknowledge their Obamacare folly, Democrats may pay a price for a generation.

The coward dies 1,000 deaths; the valiant dies but once.

Jack Kelly writes for The Blade of Toledo and The Pittsburgh Press. He can be reached at jkelly@post-gazette.com.

First Published March 12, 2014 3:58 PM

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