Democrats seek some distance from Obamacare
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rep. Patrick Murphy had been a cautious defender of President Obama's health care law for much of the last year, telling constituents in his swing-voting district that the far-from-perfect measure is critical to helping cover uninsured Americans.
Then the health care law made its disastrous debut. The federal health care website repeatedly crashed, blocking millions from browsing insurance plans. Questions about its security mounted. And cancellation notices hit people who buy their own plans, undercutting the president's vow that those who liked their coverage could keep it.
Now the South Florida lawmaker — one of nine Democrats representing districts Republican Mitt Romney won in 2012 — is distancing himself from the administration and heeding GOP calls to delay key parts of the law, illustrating the Democratic Party's challenge as it fights to keep control of the Senate and retake the House next year.
“It's a complete embarrassment,” the freshman legislator said recently. “There are no excuses for what happened here.”
Democrats are nervous about the implications of defending an already unpopular law in the wake of the botched rollout, particularly in swing-voting districts and states.
Hoping for political gain heading into 2014, the GOP's top campaign committees are tying Democrats to the law's messy rollout in a series of ads targeting women, who tend to vote Democratic and often make their families' health decisions.
Murphy and other Democrats anxious about the issue have a test on Friday, when the House is scheduled to vote on a bill to extend the life of individual health insurance policies that otherwise face cancellation under the law on Jan. 1 because they don't meet minimum coverage standards. The legislation isn't likely to become law, but it's the latest GOP tactic to take advantage of the law's rocky rollout.
Seeking to blunt the fallout, Murphy and other Democrats likely due for tough re-election challenges are pushing legislation to delay the requirement that virtually all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine until the website is certified as fully operational.
Some of those same Democrats have called on the Justice Department to investigate the government contractors who built HealthCare.gov.
In the Senate, 10 Democrats are lobbying for an unspecified extension of the enrollment period. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., has introduced a bill that would force insurers to reinstate canceled policies that Obama had vowed that people could keep. Landrieu is up for re-election in 2014.
Others, like Murphy, are calling for the firings of government officials overseeing the rollout.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as the athletic director at Pitt comes to abrupt end
- Businessman responds to Brewster shale tax proposal
- Teen who accused Clairton police of brutality pleads guilty to lesser charges
- Greensburg pit bull advocacy group plans fundraiser in Homestead
- Steelers, young and old, thirst for opportunity to reach the postseason
- QB Smith is chief concern for Steelers’ defense
- Chryst returns home, named football coach at Wisconsin
- Tax break extension bill has goodies for Mon-Yough area
- Philly DA says no affidavits claimed by AG Kane in bribery case existed
- Steelers notebook: Brown leads WRs in Pro Bowl voting, Bell 2nd at RB