Carol Platt Liebau

The Hill reports that Democrats no longer fear political fall-out from ObamaCare like they once did (http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/289461-dems-no-longer-fear-obamacare).  The reasoning purportedly is that if ObamaCare couldn't prevent re-election of Jon Tester in Montana and the election of Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota in 2012, what possible impact could it have in 2014?

With all due respect (I.e., not much), this is nonsense.  For one thing, Democrats running in 2014 will lack the advantage for Democrats that presidential election years often entail -- never more than in 2014, given the Obama campaign's turnout prowess.  Even more significantly, the implementation of ObamaCare was designed to delay the law's more unpopular elements from coming into play before the President's re-election.  But now, the day of reckoning is at hand.

As Diana Furchgott-Roth explains (http://washingtonexaminer.com/diana-furchtgott-roth-obamacares-crushing-burden/article/2524812), for a variety of reasons, ObamaCare will mean families will pay higher costs for health insurance (the IRS estimates $20,000 for a family of four). There is less flexibility for people to get only the coverage they need.

What's more, the kind of incentives the legislation forces on employers to cut costs will lead to the kind of intrusion in their lives that workers rightly resent.  Exhibit A is this story (http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/business&id=9034533), detailing how CVS is requiring it's employees to provide it with information about themselves (things like weight and blood pressure) if they don't want their own health insurance costs to go up.  Obviously, this is a precursor to companies regularly requiring such privacy-shredding reports, with a day easily foreseeable when people will have to pay more if they gain weight,their blood pressure goes up, or anything else.

 The whole kerfuffle over the domestic use of drones shows an American public newly sensitized to privacy issues.  It's hard to see how similar hackles won't be raised over some of the ticking privacy bombs in ObamaCare, like the one requiring doctors to inquire about guns in the home (http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/08/obamacare-limits-doctors-gun-questions/?hpt=ac_mid).

Don't even THINK about the looming doctor shortages (http://articles.latimes.com/2013/feb/09/local/la-me-doctors-20130210) or "!innovations" like group doctor appointments (http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/group-appointments-with-doctors-when-three-isnt-a-crowd.aspx).

Taken together, it's likely that any optimism Democrats have about the diminishing political fallout of ObamaCare is more s product of wishful thinking than hard-headed analysis.


Carol Platt Liebau

Carol Platt Liebau is an attorney, political commentator and guest radio talk show host based near New York. Learn more about her new book, "Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)" here.