We’ve been saying for some time that Obamacare will be a central issue in the 2014 election, and that it offers Republicans the hope, if they nominate solid candidates, of taking control of the Senate. Now, Senate Democrats have figured this out, as well.
Ron Wyden is latest example. He frets:
There is reason to be very concerned about what’s going to happen with young people. If their (insurance) premiums shoot up, I can tell you, that is going to wash into the United States Senate in a hurry.
Senate Democrats tend to blame the Obama administration for not rolling out the details regarding insurance exchanges and, more generally, for failing to inform the public about Obamacare. Max Baucus, who helped write the legislation and who has decided not to run for re-election, gave the Department of Health and Human Services a “failing grade” for its Obamacare outreach efforts.
But this is mostly a cop-out. Democratic control of the Senate is threatened primarily by the inherent flaws in the legislation the Dems rushed through, not by poor implementation by the Obama administration. The inherent problems include the natural reluctance of big insurers to participate in insurance exchanges, state resistance to these exchanges and to the Medicaid expansion, and penalties that appear too weak to coerce the conduct contemplated by the Act including the purchasing of insurance by young people.
I’m all for throwing the Obama administration under the bus, but doing so won’t save Democrats from the wrath of the voters if, as seems likely, the Obamacare launch proves to be a dud.