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The Obamacare train wreck continues

"The Obamacare train wreck continues" Continued...

Democrats outside of the Obama administration are starting to support changes to Obamacare. Former President Bill Clinton on Tuesday said Obama should abide by his repeated pledge that Americans could keep their current insurance if they like it.

“I personally believe even if it takes a change in the law the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got,” Clinton said.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from Louisiana facing a reelection campaign next year that is now regarded as a toss-up, has authored legislation allowing insurance companies to reinstate the canceled policies. The three original co-sponsors of the bill—Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas—are all Democrats from Republican-leaning states.

But Democrats from more liberal states are starting to come on board, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California. That state’s insurance commissioner recently announced that more than 1 million cancellation notices have been sent to Californians since the launch of Obamacare.

In announcing her support of Landrieu’s bill allowing insurance companies to continue offering current plans, Feinstein said she has received 30,842 calls, emails, and letters from her constituents about the issue.

“Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet,” Feinstein said on Tuesday. “We must ensure that in our effort to reform the healthcare system, we do not allow unintended consequences to go unaddressed.”

On Wednesday, another Senate Democrat from a liberal state, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, also signed onto the bill, signaling more fraying of Democratic unity around Obama’s top domestic achievement. New polls may be fueling these defections.

A Quinnipiac survey released Tuesday reveals that 43 percent of Americans think their healthcare will worsen under Obamacare, while just 19 percent believe the quality of their healthcare will improve. The poll also shows that, for the first time ever, more people view Obama as dishonest than honest. Fifty-two percent of Americans say the president is dishonest, a flip from the 54 percent who called Obama trustworthy on a poll conducted before Obamacare’s Oct. 1 start date. The new Quinnipiac poll found that 54 percent of voters disapprove of Obama’s job performance: the lowest since he became president.

Later this week, the Republican-led House will vote on a bill similar to Sen. Landrieu’s to restore canceled insurance polices. The measure is expected to receive bipartisan support. As both Republican and Democrats talk about tweaking Obamacare, the White House already has announced it opposes the House’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act.”

“We have only begun to see the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the broken promises surrounding Obamacare,” warned Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., “As costs soar and quality of care declines, we are going to continue to fight for our constituents who don’t deserve to have their healthcare and their paychecks take such an enormous hit that they’re enduring here under Obamacare.”

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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