Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 20, 2014

Landrieu, Begich Among Moderates Pushing Obamacare Fixes

A day after Senate Democratic leaders played down possible election year blowback from Obamacare, a group of six moderate Democrats, including two with tough reelection races, unveiled a package of proposals for improving the law.

Senior Senate Republicans aides argued that the timing belies that Democrats are worried that the troubled roll out of the health care law, also known as the Affordable Care Act, could hurt them in the November election.

“They see the writing on the wall just like everybody else,” one GOP aide said.

The aides’ comments come after Democrats unveiled their middle-class-focused their agenda Wednesday when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was peppered with questions about whether Democrats were concerned about electoral fallout from the health care law.

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., dismissed the GOP criticism and said she has been committed to improving the law since it became law. She also stressed not to read anything into the timing.

“First of all, don’t try to put those things together because they have nothing to do with each other,” said Landrieu, who is in a tossup race, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings.

“There have been several of us who have said from the beginning, since we voted for the Affordable Care Act, that it could be improved, that it was not perfect,” Landrieu continued. “We have been talking about it for literally a year and a half. We’ve all filed a variety of different bills to improve it. This work that our group has been doing has been going on for months and months and months.”

“So what this is is just an ongoing effort … to improve the Affordable Care Act, and that is all it is,” Landrieu said.

She reiterated her support for the law and stressed that it will insure millions who would otherwise not have it.

“My position has been the same from the beginning,” Landrieu said. “I think it still holds a tremendous amount of promise for middle class families, small business and companies that have never really offered affordable coverage. [But] there are some problems with it and I believe with some fixes and improvements it can be stronger.”

Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, who is also a member of the group, agreed that the bill could be improved. Begich is up for reelection and Republicans see his seat as a possible pick up — though at the moment the race tilts Democratic, according to Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

“Whether it’s an issue [in the election] or not, there are fixes that are necessary,” Begich said. “I’ve proposed fixes literally not long after the bill passed — some that have become law.”

Begich, as did Landrieu, helped champion a bill passed in 2011 that repealed a requirement under the law that companies file a 1099 form with the IRS every time they conduct $600 worth of business with a vendor.

“I am going to continue to push forward, as I have on my own, but now as a larger group maybe will have more push.”

A senior Senate Democratic aide said the efforts of the moderate Democrats are in tune with the agenda they unveiled yesterday, which is focused on middle class, pocketbook issues affecting most Americans rather than the subset of people affected by the health care law given that most people get their health insurance through their jobs.

“It’s important to do both, answer attacks on the Affordable Care Act, but also push to make it better, in addition to promoting a positive agenda that affects the entirety of the America people,” the aide said.

But Republicans contend that the agenda is merely an effort to change the subject from the health care law ahead of the November election.

The Democrat’s “so-called agenda is actually a political gambit … [which] basically has one intent: to bail out imperiled Democrats — Democrats desperate to distract from how Obamacare is devastating the middle class,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Thursday morning.

Along with Landrieu and Begich, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., wrote an op-ed in Politico proposing nine improvements to the law.

The proposed fixes are aimed at offering more convenient and greater access to coverage, greater choice and affordability, and improved flexibility for workers and businesses.

The bills include one that would provide a permanent path for consumers to enroll directly through insurers or certified web-based entities in addition to enrolling through healthcare.gov. Another, championed by Begich, would create a “copper” plan that would offer lower deductibles but higher out-of-pocket costs than the health law’s gold, silver and bronze plans.

  • papal

    Obamacare fixes are not going to happen and they know it. They just are trying to appear like they are trying to fix it. Passed on a purely dem vote and will have to be fixed with a dem vote. That is what happens when 51 sticks it to the other 49.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., remains the loyal soldier. Let’s see how it works out for her. I assume she has been promised a nice job if she goes down supporting Obamacare.

  • hepwa

    Describing Landrieu et al as moderates is sloppy journalism and infers that all other Democrats should be considered extreme or out of the mainstream. In fact, the majority of elected Democrats encompass well over half of the U.S. population. Begich and peers are Democrats elected in primarily conservative, Republican districts and they are the outliers, not some sort of imaginary middle.

    • bishop24230

      I don’t see how any article can refer to US Senators who have voted over 90% of the time in favor of the Obama agenda moderate.

  • camdenme2

    These Bozos speak with fork tongue ! A bunch of Johnny Come Latelys !!

  • darthgidget

    maybe they should have read it and fixed it before they were the deciding votes on it. Now it, ‘oh my I may lose my job over this stupid bill.’

    • DoucheOwebama

      Blowbama the Wonder TURD and Nancy PIGlosi wouldn’t let them read it.
      A mistake that will cost the DUMBocrats dearly.
      BTW…GREAT avatar!

  • left wing

    two senators terrified they will lose their “royal” status

  • Mike Triplett

    The media calls these folks moderates. A moderate Democrat is a libtard who will say or do anything to keep their Senate seat.

  • JMH21

    They want to “fix it” but are they willing to open it up for amending in both the House and Senate. I think they know it will not look anything like the current bill and Obama will veto it. By then they will have been reelected (at least they hope) and they can go back to fully supporting ObamaCare.

    • DoucheOwebama

      Re-elected? Wow…keep sucking Blowbama’s d*ck, Libtard. The DUMBocrats are FINISHED. Period.

      • JMH21

        My guess is you did not read what I posted. I don’t think they will get reelected and they should not. But your crudeness shows me that not only are you probably a Democrat but you are not smart enough to be commenting on anything political in nature.

        • DoucheOwebama

          Sorry…my bad. Definitely NOT a DUMBocrat. FAR from it.

  • twmmd

    Who is kidding who…..we know EXACTLY where most of these dems allegiance are…..and it is NOT….NOT.!!!…to the people of their States….it has been well demonstrated it is to their PARTY and their messiah…Obama….the false prophet of the dem party. Only NOW when they realize the jig-is-up and their toothless wonder pseudo-leader is under fire and their “jobs” are at risk they now begin to think about “their States” and “fixing” the Law they themselves SHOVED down our throats…..they cared little about the lies, deception and lack of ethics at the time but now …all of a sudden…..they want “fixes”……the best fix here is to boot them all OUT OF OFFICE for the very arrogance displayed so much and the callus disregard to their own citizens of the States.

  • HappyG

    The problem with these democrats is that they truly believe we pay them to do things two and three times…In the private sector, they would starve to death…

    • DoucheOwebama

      It is the definition of INSANITY…Doing something over and over, and expecting a different result. Blowbama the incompetent PresiDEBT has this down to a science.

  • Butteblack

    A correction needs to be made in this article. There is no such thing as a “moderate” democrat. For that matter there is no such thing as a “conservative” democrat. A democrat is a democrat period. All democrats are in lockstep with what leadership instructs them to do.

    • DoucheOwebama

      Brain dead Libtards sucking Blowbama’s d*ck to the end.

  • Mickey Kovars

    It’s all for naught if Obama and Harry Reid oppose any fixes, and the Dems retain control of the Senate. One hopes this point will get through the Dem smokescreen.

    • DoucheOwebama

      DUMBocrats = The Titanic. Sinking fast.

  • Thomas Brady

    Hussein Obama is a delusional marxist who intentionally causes chaos to advance his own destructive agenda.

    • DoucheOwebama

      Can’t argue with the truth….

  • Al Egro
  • Boston You

    Compassion? Always remember that Kathleen Sebelius refused to approve a waiver that would have put a dying child on a lung transplant list.

  • Jonathan Leibowitz

    That truth of the matter is that Hussein Obama is a liar, a fraud, and a fool.

    • DoucheOwebama

      And those are his GOOD points.

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