The Republicans vying for their party’s U.S. Senate nomination all consider “ObamaCare” to be the G-O-P’s strongest weapon against Congressman Bruce Braley, the only Democrat running for Iowa’s U.S. Senate seat this year. But Braley is still touting the Affordable Care Act. President Obama issued a statement Sunday to mark the fourth anniversary of the health care law, dismissing what he called the “outdated obsession” of critics to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst has a different name for the law. “Bruce Braley’s ObamaCare,” Ernst says on the campaign trail. Candidate Sam Clovis has said ObamaCare will be “ugly” for Braley. “He was the last person to speak on the floor of the House before the Affordable Care Act was passed,” Clovis said during a forum last week. “…He has a lot of things to answer for.”
Candidate Mark Jacobs of West Des Moines says ObamaCare has created head-aches for businesses. “When you go through the pages and pages and pages of regulation to define what is a full-time employee to determine if you are subject to the rules or not, it’s next to impossible for anybody to possibly understand that,” Jacobs said last week during a National Federation of Independent Business forum. Candidate Matt Whitaker predicts “ObamaCare” will be this fall’s deciding issue.
“It is not going to be a campaign about the Republican nominee,” Whitaker said recently. “This is going to be a campaign about Bruce Braley and his record that is bad for Iowa.” Braley isn’t backing away from the law. “I think Democrats need to do a better job of telling the stories of the people whose lives have been positively changed by the Affordable Care Act and I think that’s the message I’ll be talking about as I travel around Iowa,” Braley said last Thursday.
Braley held 17 town hall meetings in the months before and after passage of the Affordable Care Act, often telling audiences about his nephew who survived liver cancer when he was two. “His parents…had the best insurance you could get in Iowa and they were prevented at that time from changing jobs because he would have been prevented from getting reimbursement because of his pre-existing condition,” Braley said late last week. “His parent no longer have to worry about that and, in fact, have been able to change their jobs and know that their son is going to be able to continue to receive care even with his pre-existing condition.”
Fifty-two percent of the Iowans surveyed in December by Quinnipiac University said they were LESS likely to support a candidate who supports the Affordable Care Act. A Quinnipiac poll taken in early March found Braley leading potential Republican challengers in head-to-head match-ups by between nine and 13 percentage points.