The Politico has a pretty good write-up this morning on what they call the “disconnect” between North Carolina voters and Obamacare – and how that is not good news for the re-election campaign of vulnerable Democrat Senator Kay Hagan:
The Tar Heel State signed up more than 357,000 people — one-third of those eligible for the new health insurance exchange. Yet President Barack Obama’s health law remains a major liability for Sen. Kay Hagan, who faces one of the toughest reelection races for any Senate Democrat this year, a true toss-up fight against North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. He misses no chance to tie her to Obama and the Affordable Care Act, forcing her to calibrate both how to defend a law she voted for and how to distance herself from it.
The North Carolina dynamic reflects a national problem for the Obama administration in this midterm election: Despite the solid numbers — 8 million enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans, and 6.7 million signed up for Medicaid — they just can’t move the dial on political support for Obamacare.
The state had the third-highest rate of enrollment among states that decided not to set up their own exchange — only Florida and Maine came out ahead of it.
Many people who enrolled in North Carolina and elsewhere in the country report mixed feelings about their new Obamacare health plans or the costs. The individual mandate, and the threat of a penalty, drove many sign-ups. A polling report by PerryUndem, an opinion research firm that specializes in health care, found that 40 percent of people in one focus group say they might not have signed up without the mandate. But neither an unpopular mandate nor worries about the expense are a political advantage.
Hagan was not available for an interview during a reporter’s recent visit here. Her campaign spokeswoman downplayed the controversy over Obamacare, and stressed its more popular benefits.
To make matters worse for “if you like your plan you can keep it“ Hagan and other red state Democrats who shoved the so-called Affordable Care Act down the throats of the American people is that coming soon - very soon – are health insurance rate hikes, set to be announced for North Carolina sometime next month, which is sure to fuel the fire over Obamacare all over again at a critical time for her campaign.
I should note that one major issue not mentioned in the Politico piece is how close to 500,000 North Carolinians lost their health insurance plans thanks to Obamacare, far more than the number that signed up for it. That’s a number her GOP opponent/NC House Speaker Thom Tillis will hammer home from now til November – as he should, and if you’re a resident of North Carolina who is sick of Senator Hagan’s repeated attempts at avoiding responsibility for her vote on this disastrous bill, you should remind people of it, too.