More Dems express reservations about ObamaCare
Apparently Democrats are getting nervous about their electoral chances in 2012, as opposition to ObamaCare continues to grow and the number of self-declared Democrats continues to decline (to a 22-year low) . Earlier, I reported that one of Obama's most stalwart allies, Senator Claire McCaskill (Missouri) thinks the individual mandate may have to go . Joe Manchin, the newly elected Senator from West Virginia, ran against ObamaCare and voters in his state are watching to see if actions will follow his promises.
McCaskill and Manchin represent conservative-leaning states, but liberals have also raised criticisms of the mandate.Former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean predicted Wednesday morning that Congress or the courts would eventually strike down the rule."I think that will be gone," Dean said on MSNBC. "People don't like it, and I don't think it's essential to the program at all. It's great for the insurance companies."Sen. Bill Nelson (Fla.), another Democrat who could have a neck-and-neck race in 2012, declined to defend the individual mandate."I'm going to study it," he said.
Many Senate Democrats agree the 1099 provision, which has sparked a revolt among small businesses, will have to go. White House officials also agree that it needs to be changed.Proposals to scrap the 1099 provision from Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) both failed to garner enough support in the lame-duck session.The Baucus proposal would have repealed the 1099 requirement without paying for it, adding $19 billion to the deficit. The Johanns plan would have paid for a repeal with unspent and unobligated federal dollars to be identified by the Office of Management and Budget.Freshman Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who took the oath of office Wednesday, said he plans to review the healthcare reform law and consider fixes."I think there are a number of ways to improve the bill and I'll be working with senators, both Republicans and Democrats, on specific measures to do that. But I'm not willing to comment right now," Blumenthal said....Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), another Democrat who could have an uphill run for reelection in 2012, said he would not comment on changing the healthcare law until he saw specific proposals.