Not only will voters be alienated by changes they dislike, the thinking goes, they’ll also be confronted by the litany of promises Democratic lawmakers made before and after it became law. Rob Jesmer, who served as executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008 and 2010, suggested Republicans might have an easier time making their case in the next election cycle than in 2010.
“Even then, it was all theory,” said Jesmer, who is now a Republican consultant. “What I like about what’s happening in 2014 is we can use statements that were said in 2010 by vulnerable Democrats. They said, ‘You could keep your doctor, and your insurance premiums won’t rise.’ Well, the rubber is going to meet the road in 18 months. Many of them will prove largely not true.”
Even before most of the changes take effect, and despite predictions from the White House that the law would become more popular after passage, the public remains cold toward Obamacare. No more than 45 percent of the public has viewed it favorably in the last two and a half years, according to a monthly tracking poll by the Kaiser Family Health Foundation, and only 37 percent approved of it this month. Even debunked myths about the law, such as the inclusion of so-called “death panels,” persist: Just 39 percent of the public correctly believes Obamacare includes no such provision.
The ground is fertile, then, for the issue to reemerge in 2014, because the midterm battleground map will largely be fought where Obamacare is least popular.