Obamacare: Landrieu Scrambles, Cassidy Attacks

This is a lot easier week for Bill Cassidy than it is for Mary Landrieu. After all, Cassidy doesn’t have a “yea” vote for Obamacare coming back to bite him like Landrieu does.

And Cassidy doesn’t have to flail about in search of a legislative solution to self-created problems like Landrieu does.

Instead, Cassidy’s mission in his early-stage campaign to unseat Landrieu from the Senate is to stand on the sidelines and gleefully take potshots at the Democrat incumbent.

Today’s new ad released by the Cassidy camp is a perfect example…

Coming off last night’s news that between 80,000 and 90,000 Louisianans will lose their individual insurance plans thanks to the Obamacare vote Mary Landrieu made back in 2010, which could mean more than half the individual market will be forced onto a federal exchange the website for which doesn’t work and won’t work anytime soon, Cassidy could easily throw grenades at Landrieu until the cows come home and be right every time – about an issue which is relevant and important to lots and lots of voters in the state.

And we’re told that later this week or early next week the Louisiana Department of Insurance will have numbers of insurance policies which will be vanishing next year as the employer mandate looms on Jan. 1 of 2015. That will be a lot larger number than the 80,000 being bandied about today, and it will be a slow-motion train wreck that unfolds all next year with economic damage felt all along the way – as spouses are knocked off employer policies, employees are laid off, hours are cut, paychecks are hit and businesses like Dot’s Diner cap their size at under 50 employees to escape the mandates.

That will all fall on Landrieu’s head while she’s trying to hang on as the only Democrat holding a statewide elected office in a major race with national importance.

So obviously she has to do something. What to do?

Apparently, the first step is to compel the issuers of individual policies being obliterated by the law she voted for to reinstate those policies.

Aides told The Associated Press that under her measure, insurance companies would be obliged to continue offering existing paying customers continued coverage under any plans in effect at the end of 2013. No new consumers could enroll.

She doesn’t talk about the more coercive piece of her bill, though, and instead just says it’s about educating the public

Landrieu said Americans should be able to keep their plans if they want – especially since that was one of the selling points of the Affordable Care Act. But unlike a GOP proposal that simply ends the rule, Landrieu said her legislation, formally introduced Monday night, would also require insurance companies to inform customers “how their current plan falls short of the new standard” and “what might be available to them that is better,” Landrieu said. The choice would be left to the consumer on what to do next.

“We said to people that if they have insurance they like, they can keep it,” Landrieu said in her floor speech. “We didn’t say that if they have insurance they like that doesn’t meet the standards or that meets the minimum standards they keep it. We said and the president said over and over that if people have insurance and they like the insurance they have, they can keep it.”

It’s amazing to watch Landrieu work. First she votes for the most coercive piece of federal legislation to come down the pike perhaps in the country’s history, and then, when the damage from that piece of legislation begins to manifest itself her answer is more coercion.

For three years the insurance industry has had to attempt to recalibrate its offerings to the public in an effort to comply with Obamacare, and now Landrieu wants it to turn on a dime and offer what it had planned to do away with – as though it’s just that simple. If this doesn’t show a fundamental ignorance about how markets work and what players in a given economic sector must have in order to operate properly, nothing does.

But that clearly isn’t Landrieu’s objective here. Her objective is survival. She’s interested in escaping the electoral consequences of her roster spot on Team Obamacare, and whatever she can throw at the wall in an effort to distract the public from her responsibility, she’ll throw.

Meanwhile, Cassidy’s going to throw things at Landrieu. And the election could turn on how much he can hit her with.

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