Democrats Fear Bungled Obamacare Could Cost 2014 Election

Image: Democrats Fear Bungled Obamacare Could Cost 2014 Election Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell delivers remarks next to a tall stack of Obamacare regulations during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on March 15.

Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:19 AM

By Melanie Batley

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House Democrats are worried that problems with the rollout of Obamacare could cost them the 2014 election, a concern that was heightened Tuesday after President Obama admitted there would be some “glitches and bumps” along the way to its full implementation.

At his news conference Tuesday, the president tried to downplay concerns that the law could disrupt coverage or lead to higher insurance premiums. He insisted the program is “working fine,” but added that problems are common for any new government initiative.

Related: Barrasso says Obama 'Clueless' over Obamacare Implementation

“That’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up. But if we stay with it . . . then we’re going to be able to drive down costs,” he said.

But, according to The Hill, some Democrats believe the president's take on the healthcare program is divorced from reality.

“The White House is going to have to step up its game," one top Democratic lawmaker told The Hill. The Republicans are doing everything to prevent success . . . The White House is going to need to understand that.”

The lawmaker said the administration has placed too much focus on implementation at the expense of educating consumers, and that there is a “significant disconnect” in the public’s understanding of the Affordable Care Act, which is due to take effect Jan. 1.

“While you’re lining up the operational elements, you’ve got to start to reach out and communicate . . . I’ve said [to senior officials], ‘You guys need to pivot, quickly, from the wholesale to the retail, or you need to do both at the same time,’” the Democrat told The Hill.

According to a poll released Tuesday, four in 10 Americans have no any idea how Obamacare will work.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, one of the Democrats who helped write the Affordable Care Act, recently warned that implementation likely bwill e a “train wreck” unless people learn more about it.

The White House has said it will employ “navigators” starting this summer to help explain to people their healthcare options, but Democrats fear it might not be enough to salvage public perception of the the program.

Republicans are ready to take advantage of any backlash.

"Voters will remember that every incumbent Senate Democrat has their fingerprints all over this train wreck,” said a statement from Brad Dayspring, spokesman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Opposition to Obamacare helped Republicans gain control of the House in 2010. Democrats need 17 seats to win it back in 2014, but if the public’s experience with Obamacare backfires, the party is unlikely to prevail and could also lose control of the Senate.

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