During an event sponsored by the Southwest Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Landrieu defended ObamaCare and declared that she would again vote for the law if it came back up in Congress.
“No more free-riders. Everybody has to share responsibility so we can keep a healthy workforce and keep it strong,” said Landrieu in her defense of ObamaCare. “If I had to vote for the bill again, I would vote for it tomorrow.”
The “free-rider” argument is one of the many arguments that the Obama Administration and its supporters have made about the law. The individual mandate was designed to combat thus problem by forcing Americans to pay for health insurance coverage or face a punitive tax. But ObamaCare ultimately doesn’t do much about free-riders, those who don’t purchase health insurance and can’t or don’t pay for healthcare services they consume.
Avik Roy wrote back in 2011 that the Massachusetts’ healthcare law, the model for ObamaCare, hasn’t done much to cut uncompensated care in correlation with how much taxpayers are spending on subsidies for health insurance.
“Yes, Massachusetts has saved about $250 million in uncompensated care,” noted Roy. “On the other hand, in 2011, the state’s insurance subsidies will cost more than $830 million, and are growing at 5% a year.”
He also noted that uncompensated care isn’t really that big of an issue, accounting for only 1.79% of national healthcare expenditures. Roy explained that free-riders are a creation of “clumsy government policy.”
And even the Obama Administration has conceded that the individual mandate wouldn’t apply to Americans who would spend more than 8% of their income on health insurance or those who are eligible for Medicaid.
Landrieu, who is one of the most politically vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, voted against an amendment to repeal ObamaCare back in March.
Despite implementation problems and higher insurance premiums, which are expected to rise by 28% in Louisiana, Landrieu insists that ObamaCare is “going to be better than the old system, which was that less and less people had insurance.”
But Louisiana voters strongly oppose ObamaCare, according to a survey from the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), which has recently called attention to Landrieu’s record.
The poll found that 62% of Pelican State voters oppose the law that Landrieu so adamantly supports, including 53% who strongly oppose it. Only 33% support said they support ObamaCare.
Landrieu will ultimately have to answer to them at the polls next year. And, as noted earlier today, she trails her hypothetical Republican challenger, Rep. Bill Cassidy, 47/45.
While she has barely hung on to her seat in the past, ObamaCare could be the issue on which Mary Landrieu’s political career comes undone.