The roots of the story breaking last week from Complete Colorado regarding tensions between Senator Mark Udall’s staff and the Colorado Division of Insurance over Obamacare numbers is serving as a great preview of what’s to come in the 2014 election campaign.
This isn’t just a preview of Udall’s U.S. Senate race, but of all the Senate and Congressional races this year.
I don’t mean the exact definition of cancellation notices; I mean that every number associated with the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act will be provided in two very stark ways. The battle will be over how those numbers are presented to the public.
The real battle will be for the actual truth that I think everyone knows is somewhere right in between.
The stress over that fight is at the root of the current story between Sen. Udall’s office and the Colorado Division of Insurance. Of course, the exact story goes into how some officials “felt intimidated” by other officials, but that is simply window dressing.
Getting an accurate report card in 2014 on the Obamacare rollout is going to be nearly impossible. Any negative report will seem like it’s being made to benefit Republicans, any positive report will be accused of covering up problems to support Democrats.
That might seem like a cynical way to look at the issue, but with so much on the line in this election and with so many voters having a visceral reaction to the issue, striking a balance is simply not going to happen. How the information comes out at any level will affect the election, so how every new element is announced will be analyzed at unprecedented levels.
The story with Sen. Udall’s office and the Colo. Div. of Insurance shows the stress over getting out information about the Affordable Care Act. Both sides in this case were accurate. But tension grew from how the information was presented.
How “better news” numbers are presented will also be in contention. Senator Udall’s office may have had problems with the most recent cancellation numbers, but don’t be surprised if a Republican lawmaker has a problem with how other news in the future is presented.
I realize that the current story with Sen. Udall staff members has unique facets that we will hear in detail in the coming days, but the overall story will prove to be a preview of a recurring theme throughout 2014.
The election will be a referendum on the progress of the Affordable Care Act. Any news, any numbers, any stories will be put under the microscope and be part of the campaign war.
Finding the truth in all of the smoke of the battle will be the challenge.
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– 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.