Kay Hagan reaches for the panic button

We mentioned earlier this week how red state Democrat Senator Kay Hagan of North Carolina had watched as a previously slim but solid lead in the polls had evaporated of late. It seems that this was no momentary glitch in the numbers and the situation continues to deteriorate. The slide continued with what could only be described as a disastrous conference call with reporters, eager to pepper her with questions about her role in the development and launch of Obamacare, which even the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank saw as a ship taking on water.

Well, her problem begins with Obamacare, ends with Obamacare and has a whole lot of Obamacare in between.

Hagan hosted a conference call for reporters Tuesday morning to discuss the problems with the health-care law’s rollout, and the Q&A session was so painful that the senator should qualify for trauma coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Hagan tried reciting some of the standard issue White House talking points to claw her way out of that one, but things only got worse when one of her spokeswomen followed up to try to clean up the mess. (From Big Government and the local paper the News & Record.)

“First, this is nothing more than a political stunt that does nothing to help more people get access to care and highlights the difference between Kay, who is working to fix this law, and her opponents who don’t have any plan to reform our broken health care system,” Hagan spokeswoman Sadie Weiner told the News and Record, a Greensboro, NC newspaper. “In her capacity as a member of the HELP Committee, Senator Hagan was involved with that committee’s markup of the health care reform bill in the summer of 2009.”

In the next sentence of the quote, Weiner states that her boss Hagan was aware of the fact that people would lose their healthcare plans under Obamacare some time ago.

“Once insurance companies began disingenuously offering plans that they knew they would be canceling it became clear that more people would be getting cancellation letters,” Weiner said.

Did you catch that one – two punch in those answers? Not only was her boss, Senator Hagan, an instrumental player in crafting the bill, but she was also aware that insurance companies were going to be cancelling policies as soon as it went into effect. It’s bad enough that the popularity of Obamacare in North Carolina is rapidly approaching that of a raging case of the crabs, but that sort of admission plants her firmly in the series of shifting denials and stories about precisely who knew what when.

If Kay Hagan, one of the busy bees working on the bill, was aware that many people who liked their policy would not, in fact, be able to keep it, how did the President not know? Did she not find it worth mentioning to him? And since the “you can’t keep that” effect is presumably hitting people in her own state, how does she square up not letting the voters in on this little secret before she voted for it? Either way, somebody has some explaining to do, and there is a pack of GOP challengers who are all very interested in that Senate seat who are more than happy to discuss the matter with her in the coming battle. I think we can put North Carolina in play as one of the six seats the GOP needs to pick up next year.

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David Strom 8:41 PM on January 30, 2023