Obamacare Could Suffer ‘Complete Meltdown’: Senator
Policy + Politics

Obamacare Could Suffer ‘Complete Meltdown’: Senator

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Republicans and Democrats alike piled on President Obama Sunday morning, repeating a similar refrain across the morning talk shows: 2013 was the worst year of the Obama presidency. And one Democratic senator said that the ongoing problems with the Obamacare rollout, if they are not resolved, could lead to a “complete meltdown” of the health care reform law and a disaster for the Democratic Party in 2014.

“If it's so much more expensive than what we anticipated and if the coverage is not as good as what we had, you've got a complete meltdown at that time,” Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” "It falls of its own weight, if basically the cost becomes more than we can absorb, absolutely." 

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Manchin, a conservative Democrat who has advocated a one-year delay of the individual mandate the requires Americans to buy health insurance or face penalties, warned that continuing problems with the law could open the door for Republicans to take control of the Senate.

“It needs to turn around," Manchin said. "I'm not going to say that I think we will lose [the Senate]. It's going to be extremely challenging. We have some very good people who are truly there, I believe, for the right reason. They're going to be challenged for the wrong reason."

The Democratic fears for 2014 come as Obama is polling at the lowest levels of his presidency. At a press conference at the White House last Friday, the president was forced to defend the NSA surveillance program and plead for more time for Obamacare to work after what he called the “screwed up” rollout of the federal health insurance exchange. 

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At the news conference, Obama was asked if 2013 was the worst of his years in the White House. "That's not how I think about it," he said, later adding that he believes 2014 “will be a breakthrough year for America.”

On Sunday, even allies of the president called 2013 Obama’s worst year in office and said that his missteps over the last 12 months have seriously hurt his legacy. “This is the worst year of the presidency. It does beat out 2011,” former White House spokesperson Robert Gibbs said on a “Meet the Press” roundtable. “And especially given sort of where he started, the fact that the first year of the second term is historically the most productive of the second term."

Other analysts were even tougher on the president’s performance. “The president’s most powerful weapon as president has been his ability to inspire. That’s his greatest strength and then he comes out last Friday in the press conference, he was depressing, he was like, pathetic, he sucked the oxygen out of the room, the media beat up on him, the media had bad questions, they kept punching him,” Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren said in a roundtable discussion on “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.” “I mean, he ends the year where you just want to slit your throat almost because it was so depressing, and he’s completely lost his ability to inspire.”

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