The trickle of Democrats getting shifty about Obamacare is quickly becoming a flood. Yesterday leading Democrats spent an hour at a senatorial lunch grilling President Obama’s Chief of Staff about the rollout of the health care law. Some were upset that the administration is paying for its publicity efforts with money from the Prevention and Public Health Fund. Others were concerned that premiums could skyrocket under the new law, or that businesses will cut workers’ hours to avoid having to pay for their insurance.
Here’s the key quote to understanding the story. NYT:
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.
The Democratic party’s fate is tied to this law for the foreseeable future, and legislators know this. If Obamacare turns out well, the party’s future is all sunshine and rainbows. If the implementation process falls into chaos, the ACA will be an albatross hanging around the party’s neck for years to come. Nothing can change that now, hence the growing unease in the President’s party.
It’s too early to tell which way Obamacare will break. There are plenty of discouraging signs, from predicted rate hikes to former supporters turning against the law. But there are also some signs pointing the opposite way. Some insurers, while still predicting rate hikes, have revised down their estimates about the extent of cost increases. And according to the NYT story, Max Baucus, who helped write the ACA but foresaw “a train wreck coming down,” now says he’s encouraged by how implementation is going.
We’ll be watching.