Will Republicans or Democrats Turn Obamacare Into Political Gold?

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Many predictions circulate in the months preceding any political election. Some are the product of careful thought; some are the result of undue enthusiasm or bluster; the rest fall everywhere in between. Those made by politicians themselves often seem to fall into the latter category. But even if such predictions are made within the election atmosphere with full knowledge that the words will shape voter perceptions, they are important because they set the parameters of the debate.

With midterm congressional elections mere months away, Washington, D.C., is focusing on the issues that will drive campaigns, especially healthcare reform. Given the exceedingly partisan nature of the national discussion surrounding the Affordable Care Act, it is no surprise that U.S. lawmakers on either side of the aisle have taken very divergent views on how healthcare reform will influence the pre-election debate.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland, said during a Tuesday news conference that Obamacare would not be the political handicap for congressional Democrats in November’s midterm elections. “I think healthcare at worst is going to be a neutral in this election,” he argued.

When the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment numbers began to improve earlier this year, a theory was put forward that this November’s midterm elections would not be a referendum on the healthcare reform championed by President Barack Obama.

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