A civil war has opened up inside the Democratic Party over Obamacare.
With half of all Senate Democrats who voted for Obamacare no longer in office, top Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and outgoing Tom Harkin (D-IA) have begun trashing Democrats’ decision to embrace the deeply unpopular Obamacare program. Indeed, even progressive New York Times columnist Tom Edsall now concedes that Obamacare is partly to blame for working-class Americans’ all-time low 27% approval rating of Democrats, which Edsall says has now nosedived to “dangerous levels.”
“We blew it,” said Harkin. “What we did is we muddled through and wegot a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably somecorrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively.”
Harkin added, “I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.”
“Unfortunately, Democrats blew the opportunity the Americanpeople gave them,” Schumer said two weeks ago. “We took their mandate and put all of ourfocus on the wrong problem: health care reform.”
Schumer added, “We were in the middle of a recession, people were hurting and said,’What about me? I’m losing my job. It’s not health care that bothersme.'”
But now, progressives like Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-CA), and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman are blasting Democrats who dare to speak ill of Obamacare, reports The Hill.
“I disagree with both of them,” Waxman said about comments by fellow Democrats Schumer and Harkin. “I disagree with what they said, and I can’t quite see a lot of value in it…I think the Democrats and Sen. Schumer ought to be proud of it.”
Hoyer agreed, stating that “millions of Americans” now benefit from Obamacare. After the White House’s recent admission that it released inflated enrollment figures, the Obama administration now claims just 6.7 million people are enrolled in Obamacare, not the 8 million it previously claimed. Moreover, the administration will not say what portion of the 6.7 million are among the 5 million Americans whose plans were canceled by Obamacare which then in turn forced them enroll in Obamacare.
Times columnist Paul Krugman trashed Schumer’s assessment as “deeply wrongheaded” in a Thursday piece titled, “Democrats Against Reform.”
“If more Democrats had been willing to defend the best thing they’ve done in decades, rather than run away from their own achievement and implicitly concede that the smears against health reform were right, the politics of the issue might look very different today,” wrote Krugman.
However, with embattled Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber set to testify on Tuesday about his shocking statements about “the stupidity of the American voter” and his contention that deception was essential to Obamacare’s passage, it’s unclear how an already unpopular law will turn public opinion around.
Indeed, after four years and eight months of being the law of the land, Obamacare hit a new all-time low approval rating in the Gallup poll of just 37%. For that reason, Democrats’ internecine battle over Obamacare may continue to rage on for months and years to come.