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News Analysis: U.S. Democrats seek wiggle room over Obamacare controversy

English.news.cn   2014-02-20 14:12:58

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Democrats are trying to gain wiggle room amid the troubled rollout of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul, or Obamacare, but it remains to be seen how much they can get.

The botched Obamacare rollout will be one of Democrats' biggest hurdles in November's mid-term Congressional elections, and their strategy will be to argue that Republicans would worsen the problem.

While that may be a tough sell, one silver lining for Democrats is that almost two thirds of Americans believe that Obamacare does not directly impact them, according to a Gallup poll released earlier this month. That may loosen the screws somewhat, although it remains unknown how much, experts said.

"(Democrats) know (Obamacare) is an albatross around their necks heading into the mid-terms and what they are extremely eager to do is mitigate its effects at the ballot box," Republican Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua.

"They know it's going to cost them some Senate seats. The only question is how many," he added.

O'Connell said Democratic ads in certain states -- chief among them North Carolina, Arkansas, Montana and Louisiana -- are heavily targeting single women, as that demographic, which tends to vote Democrats, also tends to stay home during Congressional elections.

Prior to their new strategy, recent months have seen Democrats distance themselves from the White House over Obamacare.

Meanwhile, Republicans are likely to use problems with Obama's healthcare rollout as fodder against Democrats ahead of the elections.

In the latest in a string of problems with the healthcare reform's rollout, the Obama administration earlier this month announced a delay in its implementation.

Now, companies employing between 50 and 99 people will have until 2016 a one-year extension to offer health insurance to employees, a requirement under the legislation.

Obamacare's opponents have billed a spate of delays in the law's full implementation. They argued that the law, once fully enforced, will negatively impact many Americans.

Democrats contend the law will provide coverage to millions of previously uninsured individuals.

Experts said Republicans are likely to attack the law as they did when it passed in 2010, but some have pointed out that the problems with the troubled website www.healthcare.gov, the website that forms the centerpiece of Obamacare, are being fixed.

The website, which promised access to affordable health insurance plans, saw myriad technical glitches that prevented visitors from completing enrollment in Obamacare in the initial months after its launch last October.

Editor: Shen Qing
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