Obama Faces Democrat Defections if Website Fixes Fail

Image: Obama Faces Democrat Defections if Website Fixes Fail

Saturday, 30 Nov 2013 11:49 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Democratic leaders have given the White House space to work out the problems with the Obamacare website, but if it isn't right this time around, vulnerable Senate Democrats could distance themselves even more from the law they voted to pass.

"There's a window here; I'm not sure how long it is," Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told The National Journal.

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Earlier this month, 39 Democrats joined ranks with Republicans to vote for a bill allowing people to remain on their current health insurance plans, and are signaling they're ready to make a stronger push about the bill should the site still not work correctly after Sunday's deadline comes and goes, said The National Journal.

But with Obama's poll numbers at record lows and Americans saying he's "untrustworthy," another failed Obamacare website rollout could slash his ratings even more, and with public approval of Obamacare also waning, Democrats are scrambling to show their constituents that they are trying to fix the problems.

"You need to explain what you're trying to fix, and you'd better be trying to fix something. If there's nothing you want to fix, there's something wrong with you," Democratic pollster Mark Mellman told The National Journal.

However, the fixes, including taking back the part of the law that cancels Americans' health plans, could hinder how the rest of the law works, experts say.

Making the website fixes — which the Obama administration admits won't necessarily make the site "perfect" — will likely be a key factor over whether Democratic leaders continue to back the president and the healthcare law.

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"It all depends on whether the glitches are worked out and the program gets up and running like it should," Manley said. "If not, add this to the list of problems."

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