Within months of Democrats ramming through Obamacare without a single Republican vote, the American people responded, pummeling the president's party at the polls. Republicans gained 63 seats in the House, six United States Senators, six governorships, and nearly 700 seats in state legislatures nationwide. Conservatives had their temporary political revenge, we were told, but Democrats would get the last laugh because Obamacare was sure to become more popular once Republicans' scurrilous smears against the law were shown to be false. How's that working out?
Democratic senators, at a caucus meeting with White House officials, expressed concerns on Thursday about how the Obama administration was carrying out the health care law they adopted three years ago. Democrats in both houses of Congress said some members of their party were getting nervous that they could pay a political price if the rollout of the law was messy or if premiums went up significantly. President Obama’s new chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, fielded questions on the issue for more than an hour at a lunch with Democratic senators. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, who is up for re-election next year, said, “We are hearing from a lot of small businesses in New Hampshire that do not know how to comply with the law.” In addition, Mrs. Shaheen said, “restaurants that employ people for about 30 hours a week are trying to figure out whether it would be in their interest to reduce the hours” of those workers, so the restaurants could avoid the law’s requirement to offer health coverage to full-time employees. The White House officials “acknowledged that these are real concerns, and that we’ve got to do more to address them,” Mrs. Shaheen said. Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the appropriations subcommittee on health care, said he was extremely upset with Mr. Obama’s decision to take money from public health prevention programs and use it to publicize the new law, which creates insurance marketplaces in every state.
Obamacare is impossibly complicated to comply with, is impeding hiring, and is causing businesses to lay off workers and cut back on other employees' hours? Why, who could have possibly seen that coming? Oh, that's right -- every single critic of Obamacare could. And did. Back to the grumbling Democrats:
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat of Maryland, said he told White House officials on Thursday that he was concerned about big rate increases being sought by the largest health insurer in his state. The company, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, has sought increases averaging 25 percent for individual insurance policies that will be sold in the state insurance exchange, and it is seeking increases of about 15 percent for small businesses. The company said the higher premiums reflected costs of complying with the new law.
Obamacare is hiking up people's premiums? Why, who could have possibly... Katie noted last week that other Hill Democrats are nervously conceding that the, ahem, "Affordable Care Act" doesn't actually contain costs either. Shocking, I know. The Left is spooked because the law they force-fed the American people is shaping up to be a "train wreck" and a "third world experience," to quote the law's chief author and administrator, respectively. And now the more problematic elements of the president's top legislative "accomplishment" are slated to roll out next year; the supposedly popular bits were front-loaded for political reasons. (And how is that going thus far? Let's ask a bunch of people with pre-existing conditions for their verdict). Obamacare remains unpopular, and Democrats are grappling with growing fears that a 2010-style backlash may befall them in 2014, when the law they advertised as a legislative panacea is exposed as an unaffordable, unwieldy, logistical headache -- all in real time.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography