The panic inside the Democratic Party over Obamacare is really beginning to set in as the Obama Administration continues to deal with the fallout of an embarrassing rollout of the glitchy federal health insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, and seemingly endless reports of Americans losing their health insurance coverage or being hit with more expensive plans.
Ron Fournier of the National Journal relayed the concerns and indignation of one Democratic Party consultant who put it very simply — they are “f****d”:
Incoming from Democrats:
“Dem Party is F****d.” That was the subject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a senior Democratic consultant with strong ties to the White House and Capitol Hill. The body of the email contained a link to this Los Angeles Times story about Obamacare “sticker shock:”
“These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market. Their rates are rising in large part to help offset the higher costs of covering sicker, poorer people who have been shut out of the system for years.”
“Although recent criticism of the healthcare law has focused on website glitches and early enrollment snags, experts say sharp price increases for individual policies have the greatest potential to erode public support for President Obama’s signature legislation.”
In his story, reporter Chad Terhune also quoted a letter sent to a California insurance company executive. “I was all for Obamacare,” wrote a young woman complaining about a 50 percent rate hike related to the health care law, “until I found out I was paying for it.”
Remember when the government shutdown was going to hurt Republicans in 2014 and, possibly, even result in a takeover of the House of Representatives by Democrats? That was what some pundits were saying just two weeks or so ago. How fast did that narrative change after ended to the problems with Obamacare?
Some congressional Democrats, especially vulnerable members, are now looking for ways to mitigate the political damage by proposing or backing various fixes and/or delays. Sens. Mark Begich (D-AK), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Mark Pryor (D-AR) — all voted for Obamacare and opposed attempts to repeal or delay it — are now working feverishly to save their political careers after this disastrous rollout.
It may be too early to determine whether the Obamacare fallout will carry over into the 2014 election. But as many of the concerns expressed by Republicans about the law turn into reality, many voters could turn on Democrats who backed Obamacare, and control of the Senate could hang in the balance.