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How Will Obamacare Problems Play for Moderate Voters?

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

As one of the biggest pieces of federal legislation in a generation begins to be enacted, problems continue to make headlines. So many problems have arisen from the federal health website that now hearings on Capitol Hill have included apologies from administration officials and calls for resignations.

Clearly, with any piece of legislation this big there was bound to be problems. I wasn’t around when Social Security and Medicare were enacted, but I imagine that the problems getting those programs started were serious as well.

But the problems with Obamacare are immediately becoming political fodder and will likely become the basis of negative campaign ads next year.

In fact, there is already an ad on Denver airwaves “thanking” Rep. Mike Coffman for fighting Obamacare in the recent shutdown. This ad is obviously targeted to Republican voters in his Congressional district who would obviously appreciate his efforts against Obamacare.

However, it’s unlikely that moderate voters in CD 6 — also known as the voters that will decide the 2014 Congressional election — will see the ad the same way. In fact, it’s hard to know how moderate voters are going to react to the problems with Obamacare for next year’s elections.

On one hand, America is seeing problems with the implementation on many levels, and frankly the majority of Americans have yet to see any benefit from the Affordable Care Act. Insurance rates for the majority of Americans have not gone down and most stories have been about people losing their doctors than being able to get coverage despite pre-existing conditions.

But on the other hand, the Republican Party has set itself apart by being against Obamacare from the beginning, fighting funding of it and voting to overturn it several times in the House. This stance may invigorate Republican voters, but some moderate voters may wonder if some of the work against the law from the GOP has contributed to some of the problems. Essentially, by fighting it, the GOP makes the fight the story and not the failures of the law so far.

I think it is safe to predict that there will be negative ads from both Democrats and Republicans regarding Obamacare next year. But I think the negative ads from Democrats will be about the fight over Obamacare and the supposed damage the shutdown caused the country.

If the fight didn’t exist, wouldn’t the ads from Republicans be more effective if they were simply of the “I told you so” variety? I have to believe that moderate voters would respond better to those kinds of ads better than the “thanks for fighting Obamacare” ads.

Both political parties have made their proverbial bed, so it’s not like either can change strategy in a significant way at this point. But as problems stack up, I do wonder how many moderate Republicans would have preferred to have let Obamacare upset people on its own as the implementation issues continue.

Dominic Dezzutti’s Latest Blog Entries

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.

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