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DEM FRACTURES DEEPEN ON OBAMACARE
A long-promised remedy from moderate Democrats to some of ObamaCare’s worst problems debuts today. The question is will Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the rest of Team Obama let the suite of legislation see daylight. That’s not clear. Given the propensity of the president to act alone in changing ObamaCare, he seems unlikely to allow his fellow Democrats to start yanking on the unsteady law. But the dozens of delays, carve-outs and alterations President Obama has conjured have not so far been enough to protect vulnerable Democrats from public outrage over the false promises and botched implementation of the law. The Democratic Party’s increasing liberalism over the past decade has left little tolerance for moderate triangulators like those offering the fixes rolling out today. Among the co-sponsors are Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va.; Mark Begich, D-Alaska; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; and Sen. Angus King, I., Maine.
[A Quinnipiac poll released this morning shows Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., ahead of Republican frontrunner Ed Gillespie, 46 percent to 31 percent. Offering hope to Republicans: The president is stuck at 44 percent job approval and 52 percent of voters oppose his signature health law.]
Tough medicine for Obama to take - Among provisions expected to be unveiled by the centrist six today include lower-cost insurance options than those allowed by ObamaCare, allowances for insurers to compete across state lines, small-business tax credits and exemptions for mid-sized employers. Most objectionable to President Obama and his allies in the insurance industry would be a proposal seen by some as potentially wiping out the deadline for ObamaCare enrollment. [Read more about the provisions.] Some of the measures could no doubt pass the Senate, but Reid and Obama have been working desperately to shift the discussion away from America’s number one political issue, not towards it. The president has made a point of dismissing bipartisan calls for congressional action on his law, but vulnerable Democrats obviously need more relief than Obama can provide with his pen and phone.