OCTOBER 22, 2014

Obamacare is still a major mid-term election issue

There's been wishful thinking that Obamacare would lose steam, but it remains topic A at the local level
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WASHINGTON, DC – There are claims that the delay this year of the open enrollment period for Obamacare is a political ploy designed to help liberal candidates in this year's mid-term elections.  They say that "ugly" new features of the law, including price and penalty hikes, could further hinder the chances of election for Senate Democrats, particularly in battleground states.
The Obamacare enrollment period began on October 1 last year and this year open enrollment begins on November 15, eleven days after the November 4th election. 

"The lack of rational explanations for the date change has given rise to conjecture that President Obama, indeed, made a mistake when he boasted his policies are on the mid-term ballots this year.  The speculation is that the administration is doing damage control.  That it is delaying the negative impact of the 2015 version of his most controversial policy, Obamacare, so that Senate Democrats can hold on to a majority," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

Weber pointed out that there'll be double-digit premium increases in Alaska, Iowa and Louisiana, for example.  And, he said, the Associated Press published a story this week that detailed significant changes in the 2015 version of Obamacare, including an onerous hike in the fines for those who opt to remain uninsured from $95 to $325.

The Director of Alaska's Division of Insurance, Lori Wing-Heier, recently said that two insurers, Premera and Moda, will increase its Affordable Care Act premiums by as much as 40 percent and 28.8 percent, respectively, in the coming year.  Significant rate hikes have also been announced in Iowa and Louisiana.

The most recent Real Clear Politics average of polls in Alaska show Republican challenger Dan Sullivan with a comfortable lead against Democratic incumbent Mark Begich.  In Iowa, Democrat Bruce Braley is in a very tight race against Republican challenger Joni Ernst and, in Louisiana, incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D) is defending her seat against two Republican challengers Bill Cassidy, and Robert Maness. 

"There's been wishful thinking that Obamacare would lose steam as a Senate campaign issue this year, but the polls have consistently showed that the unpopularity of the law is at its highest levels across the country.  The only reason that it has not emerged as a mainstream media story is that the ISIS war in Syria and Iraq, the Ebola outbreak in Africa and other international developments have dominated the news cycles of the national press.  But, at the local level, the Obamacare remains topic A," AMAC's Weber concluded.

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