by Robert Maynard
A number of leading Democrats are looking forward to the 2014 mid term elections with a sense of dread and dejavu. The unpopularity of ObamaCare has them worrying that they will suffer significant defeats in 2014, which is exactly what happened in 2010. Since then, ObamaCare has become even less popular. Now the Dems have to do a delicate balancing act of trying to sell an unpopular piece of legislation, while at the same time explain why its implementation has to be delayed. Their dilemma was captured in this Wall Street Journal article. Here is an excerpt:
Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. The Obama administration and its allies in Congress are faced with the challenge of trying to convince Americans there are wide-ranging benefits to their 2010 takeover of our nation’s health-care system, while at the same time working to delay it so as to minimize the negative consequences before the 2014 elections.
The last thing congressional Democrats want is a repeat of the drubbing their party took in 2010, courtesy of the ObamaCare backlash. But recent events have put ObamaCare and its outcomes front and center, adding to a growing fear on the left that Republicans not only will hold the House but could take the Senate.
Voters anxious for job growth cannot help but notice recent discussions about the law’s detrimental effect on employment.The employer mandate, which requires entities with at least 50 full-time employees to provide costly federally approved insurance, acts as an incentive to keep payrolls at 49 or fewer or move workers to part-time status. The administration apparently agrees, as it announced it is postponing the start of the employer mandate by one year, to 2015. Even casual observers of the electoral calendar may note that’s on the other side of the midterms.
Leaving aside for a moment whether it is legal for an administration simply to decree that a law won’t be enforced until next year, such action keeps ObamaCare in the news. Earlier this month the House passed legislation that would make it legal to delay the employer mandate. The House passed another bill to delay the individual mandate by a year, with the logic that individuals and families deserve the same break busineses are getting. Both bills will languish in the Senate, but they have led to the rather odd situation of the president actually vowing to veto legislation that would put his extralegal action on solid footing.
The administration’s problems are not just with Republicans, or the some two dozen House Democrats who joined them. Organized labor, one of the staunchest backers of Democrats in general and ObamaCare in particular, is beginning to foresee the law’s negative impact on union members. A recent letter signed by leaders of three large unions and sent to congressional Democratic leaders said the law threatens to “shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class,” and that labor’s effort for Democrats “has come back to haunt us.” Another union head has referred to the “destructive consequences” of ObamaCare.