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Obamacare fixes: Shaheen and the big reconsideration

December 28. 2013 1:00AM

The day after Christmas, The Washington Post ran a fact-check on a claim often made by Democrats in the wake of the Obamacare rollout debacle. It is one to keep in mind when Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz speaks at the New Hampshire Institute of Politcs on Thursday.

The claim is that Democrats are trying to fix Obamacare while Republicans only want to repeal it. Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler gave it two Pinocchios. He noted that Republicans have proposed several bills to fix problems with Obamacare, some of which were passed into law and some of which were blocked by Democrats. He mentions two specific changes - eliminating the medical device tax and delaying the individual mandate for a year - that Senate Democratic leaders will not allow to come to a vote.

There also was the huge 2010 fix proposed by Republicans. It would have allowed people to keep their insurance plans if they liked them. Had it passed, Obamacare would be more popular today because millions of Americans would not have received insurance cancellation notices. But Senate Democrats, including Jeanne Shaheen, voted to kill it.

Shaheen is one of 15 Democratic senators up for election in 2014 who have been trying to strategize with the White House to protect themselves from voter backlash over the deeply unpopular law. The strategy so far is to tout the goals of Obamacare (rather than the results) and attack Republicans for wanting to repeal the law.

But Republicans have offered legislative fixes, usually to be told that the law does not need any. The Democrats' strategy has been for Obama to order fixes administratively (and arguably unconstitutionally) so they will not be put to a vote in Congress, which would allow for a broader reconsideration of the law.Not only did we have to pass the law to find out what was in it, but now we cannot pass fixes after we know that what is in it does not work. No wonder Jeanne Shaheen is nervous.

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