For the third election cycle, Democrats are still debating their options for handling the political fall-out from passage of the Affordable Care Act: fight, flight or finesse.
Former President Bill Clinton advised fellow Democrats to embrace the law on the campaign trail. Democratic polling expert Celinda Lake, who released a new survey last week, told candidates to avoid it.
“The reality is it’s a negative. The reality is you can’t walk away from it. The reality is you’ve got to fight it,” said Chris Kofinis, a Democratic strategist at the Washington, D.C.- based consulting firm Purple Strategies.
In key races, as the now-delayed March 31 deadline for new enrollment on the health insurance exchanges arrives today, Democrats face this reality: The law’s a political loser, and there’s no easy fix.
Handling the issue deftly is key to Democrats who are at risk of losing control of the U.S. Senate in the November election. Republicans need a net gain of six seats to take over.
It’s the third election in a row that the Affordable Care Act has played a role. In 2010, the year Obama signed it into law, Democrats lost their House majority. In 2012, Obama won re- election when up against Republican Mitt Romney, whose Massachusetts law was a model for Obama’s health law.