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Obamacare in 2014

Republicans will run on it. Democrats will run away from it.

Dec 2, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 12 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Jenkins calls Obamacare a “red-hot issue” for the older, rural population of West Virginia, and he anticipates that more sticker shock and a decrease in access to care will only make voters angrier at Democrats supporting the law. “The next wave is going to be significant,” says Jenkins.

Rahall has, for the most part, continued to embrace the law he helped pass, saying in a recent radio interview that those who have received insurance cancellation letters may find it’s “in their best interest in the long term.” But his opponent says Rahall’s vote to allow Americans to keep their current plans shouldn’t fool anyone.

“The public recognizes when someone is trying to blur their record,” Jenkins says.

Nowhere are the consequences of Obamacare being felt more than in California, where the new state insurance exchange has not had the technical difficulties faced by the federal website. Covered California, the state exchange, boasted 31,000 enrollees in the month of October, according to the Los Angeles Times. But the Times also reported that one million Californians will lose their existing health insurance coverage next year. So while Obamacare is “working” in the Golden State, not all California Democrats are celebrating it. Seven voted for the Upton bill, including four who ran behind President Obama in their districts in 2012.

One of those Democrats is John Garamendi from Walnut Grove near Sacramento. Garamendi’s Republican opponent, assemblyman Dan Logue, says making an issue of Obamacare is a “cornerstone” of his campaign.

“This has been a big issue to voters here,” Logue says. “They’re absolutely stunned that it’s been this bad.”

“I think people are frustrated,” says Carl DeMaio, another Republican in California, who is challenging San Diego-area Democrat (and Upton bill supporter) Scott Peters by running against Obamacare. “They just want to see the problem solved.”

With the 2014 midterms a little less than a year away, can public discontent over Obamacare carry Republicans in these swing districts? Schilling predicts that with companies making decisions a few months before the employer mandate takes effect January 1, 2015, Democrats will be dealing with an even bigger mess as more people lose their health insurance on the eve of the election. “There’s no way around this,” he says. Stefanik, meanwhile, believes the real issue with Obamacare is the “lack of trust” among voters toward the Democrats who sold the law under false pretenses.

The game changer, Logue asserts, is that Democrats finally will have to answer to real, live human beings who have been negatively affected by their signature law. He says, “We have the sob stories now.”

Michael Warren is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard.

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