Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has already admitted that the “affordable” in the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” is something of a misnomer, to say the least, and with all of the hidden costs and complexities the law’s implementation is slowly but surely revealing, Democrats have every reason to be nervous. As Josh Kraushaar put it at NJ:

While the debate over Obama’s health care law isn’t a life-or-death battle, health care affects voter livelihood (and their voting decisions) like few other issues do. And there are clear signs that if premiums go up, businesses are forced to change how they insure their employees, and implementation of the law is uneven, the potential for political consequences are significant. In the 2010 midterms, Democrats suffered a historic landslide when the debate over health care was abstract. The stakes could be even higher when voters have first-hand experience with its effects.

And health insurance premiums are definitely starting to tick upwards, in no small part directly because of ObamaCare’s provisions — a fact that even Sen. Chuck Schumer is now ready to publicly recognize.

SCHUMER: Our insurance department is in power to protect families. We’re going to watch them like a hawk to make sure they do that. And if they don’t, those rates could go through the roof.

Q: Is it because of Obamacare?

SCHUMER: It’s in part because of Obamacare, but healthcare costs have been going up in double digits for years and years.

Yes, obviously — because ObamaCare destroys the free-market based notion of private insurance in which companies can price out risk. Everybody can get ‘reasonably priced insurance, and therefore everybody’s prices are going to go up, and the raft of new taxes, regulations, and arbitrarily-determined rates (re: “watching them like a hawk”) are not going to help matters much. This is not rocket science.

Update: Precious.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Friday walked back his remarks that the Affordable Care Act could “in part” contribute to insurance premiums going “through the roof” — comments that Republicans have pounced on.

“The rise in healthcare premiums is market-driven and predates Obamacare,” Schumer said in a statement provided exclusively to TPM. “The fact is, the law is already working to significantly slow that rise, and ensure a higher quality of care to boot.”