While the White House and Democratic leaders in Congress try to pretend otherwise, a vote for the health law was a death knell for Democratic candidates in the Nov. 2 elections.
All five of the House Democrats who flipped from voting “no” to “yes” on final passage lost their seats. Seniors voted overwhelmingly against candidates who supported passage and defeated many of them. The two Democrats who actively defended their votes for ObamaCare – Sen. Russ Feingold (D., Wis.) and Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D., N.D.) – both lost.
Even Democratic pollster Pat Caddell said health care was key to his party’s loss of at least 60 seats in the House. He told Fox News: “The economy, as important as it was, was not the decisive factor this election. Health care was,” he said.
“It is…health care [that] killed them,” Caddell continued. “The American people found this a crime against democracy… they want it repealed, and this issue is gonna go on and on.”
Even if substantive changes to the law could get through the Democratic Senate, President Obama will resist – and veto – any effort to make major changes to his signature legislation. Consequently, the House is likely to push for measures that delay, defund, and begin to dismantle the legislation.
As Republicans try to stall implementation of the law, they must simultaneously articulate their own solutions to the very real problems in our health care sector. They have signaled they plan to take a step-by-step approach to reform.
They will target the most unpopular parts of the law for immediate repeal and will try to enlist conservative Democrats who survived the election to elp override a likely presidential veto.
Congress also will be getting a great deal of pressure from a large number of new Republican governors disinclined to go along with the avalanche of requirements to comply with the new law. They will want flexibility, for example, to redefine an acceptable structure for a Health Insurance Exchange and relief from the dramatic and costly expansion of Medicaid.
Because President Obama and Democrats in Congress don’t appear to be listening to the American people’s serious concerns about the health care overhaul law, the battles will continue at least through 2012 when voters get another chance to get their attention in the voting booth.
Posted on Medical Progress Today: Second Opinion, Nov. 11, 2010.