The Scandals Aren’t The Only Thing Catching Up To Mary Landrieu

This week’s column at the American Spectator is about Chartergate, and the drag the scandal is going to have on Mary Landrieu’s election hopes…

But the travel scandal is a giant piece of a building narrative of Landrieu as a privileged Washington insider out of touch with the people she purportedly represents. A web ad put together by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads PAC hammered Landrieu for her D.C. attachments and $2.5 million Washington mansion last month, and with Chartergate back in full flower that narrative is taking hold.

A pair of polls released earlier this month show the trouble Landrieu is in with the electorate. She trailed the leading Republican Bill Cassidy by 44-41 in a Rasmussen survey released September 4, and in a CBS News/New York Times YouGov poll released September 8 she trailed Cassidy 38-36 with leaners included.

George Will once said that a good scandal merely reinforces what people already believe about its subject, and the Air Mary disclosures fit nicely with that truism. Landrieu, in fact, has touted her status as a powerful member of the D.C. elite as an asset to her voters through the years. Tepid media coverage to date aside, how ironic that Louisianans tailgating at LSU or gathering around office water-coolers should be discussing that very subject as proof in their minds she’s been in Washington too long.

But while Chartergate is a major problem for Landrieu, she’s got a big policy problem coming as well.

Namely, the Obamacare vote that has dogged her throughout the campaign is about to flare up again.

Three developments you’re likely to hear much more about this fall. First, a study on Obamacare insurance policies which says that compared to the “broken” system it replaced, the new stuff ain’t so hot

Individual health insurance policies were of higher quality in 2013, before Obamacare regulations hit, than the offerings on health-care exchanges this year, according to a study released Monday.

The National Center for Public Policy Research examined the health insurance plans available before the health care law took effect in ten major cities and found that for 27 year-olds and 57 year-old couples, the individual market used to provide more comprehensive coverage than the exchanges.

As is typically the case with Obamacare, young adults were the hardest hit. Last year, there was an average of 33 health insurance plans in each area studied that offered not only lower premiums than the least expensive Obamacare plans currently available, but also lower or equal deductibles and out-of-pocket costs.

Older adults have a similar experience. There’s an average of 10 policies per area that had lower premiums and deductibles last year, compared to the cheapest exchange offerings this year.

It’s even worse than that; turns out the Obamacare plans are par more dependent on HMO’s than the industry used to, which means access to the doctor of your choice is more restricted than ever.

So if you lost your doctor, and the study shows that’s a bigger problem than ever before, Mary Landrieu did that to you with her deciding vote in favor of Obamacare.

Second, Landrieu had better not bank on a lot of support from the immigrant community – because those people are going to be truly irritated by November

The Obama administration on Monday said 115,000 people in 36 states could lose their private health insurance under Obamacare after Sept. 30, because of unresolved data problems involving their citizenship or immigration status. …

Under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, people who lack insurance can be eligible for coverage if their immigration status is in order, while federal subsidies can be available depending on an applicant’s annual income.

More than 8 million people enrolled in 2014 coverage through the federal and state marketplaces. But about 2.5 million submitted applications with missing entries or data that did not match federal records.

Officials said those with outstanding issues have failed to provide accurate information about their situations or have simply not responded to repeated efforts to reach them. Critics have also blamed problems on federal data collection systems including the federal marketplace website, HealthCare.gov.

That website is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? And it’s not done

The Obama administration announced Monday it will cut off tax subsidies to about 360,000 people if they do not offer proof of their income in the next two weeks.

Officials will send final notices this week to individuals who signed up for ObamaCare with income levels that didn’t match government records. The announcement marks the administration’s first move to tackle the politically charged issue of income verification, which has remained a key GOP argument against the healthcare reform law.

So if you’re making more money than last year, or if you’re making less, the administration either wants you to submit to what is basically a government audit or you can pay for your own damn insurance policy.

How much of this will affect Louisianans is still up in the air, but when a bevy of awful news about Obamacare’s rollout descended last fall it caused Landrieu’s approval ratings to swoon. Now that she’s in the midst of an uphill re-election fight with some ugly political bruises arising from residency and travel disclosures she’d probably prefer not to have, a fresh round of furious citizens newly agitated by what they see as a government screwing them is the last thing she wants.

You’ll see the new Obamacare ads from AFP and others within a few weeks. They’re likely to be the most brutal ones yet.

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