March 11, 2014
Some Democrats hope to minimize the importance of Obamacare as a political issue by focusing on other topics in this November’s midterm elections. Some hope to win by promising to fix the flawed national health care plan they passed in 2010. And others hope to turn the issue on Republicans by appealing to voters who have been helped by the law.
The problem is, none of that will work. The importance of Obamacare as an issue in November 2014 cannot be controlled by either political party. It will be determined by just one thing, and that is the performance of Obamacare as a law in the months preceding the election.
The Obama administration obviously understands that. There is no other explanation than political expediency for its announcement last week that it is extending the “keep your plan” fix until 2016 for Americans who have coverage that doesn’t meet Obamacare’s minimum standards.
The administration knows that the same kinds of cancellations that happened to holders of individual policies over the winter will happen later this year to people insured in the small group market. That could be a lot of newly-angry voters. So the White House put it off until after Election Day.
The administration did not take action because it feared Republicans might gin up some fake health care controversy to be used against Democrats. It took action because it knew Obamacare was going to impose new burdens on millions of Americans with an election approaching.
It’s train wrecks all the way down. But if Obama has his way, they’ll be post-election train wrecks.