With Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s defeat, half of all the U.S. senators who voted for Obamacare are now out of office, Bloomberg reports.
Just four years after the landmark health reform became law, the Affordable Care Act’s real support has been sapped away. Sixty Democratic senators passed Obamacare into law and when the new Congress begins in January, just 30 will remain.
Not all of the turnover is due to voters’ displeasure about the health-care law. Three senators died in office. Eleven left the Senate willingly and were replaced by another Democrat; another eight left the Senate and were replaced by a Republican.
But Landrieu makes the eighth senator who voted for Obamacare and was booted out in favor of a Republican. While no race centered on Obamacare alone, many states who were most adversely affected by the health care law voted their Democratic senators from office.
In the midterms’ Republican sweep, Sens. Mark Begich, Mark Pryor, Mark Udall, Kay Hagan and Mary Landrieu were all voted out of office in favor of Republicans. The five had all been key votes for the health-care law in 2010 — and many of their states lost out as a result.
Alaska, where Begich serves, has experienced the highest individual premium hikes in the country. Landrieu’s Louisiana was hit with double-digit increases as well. And North Carolina, under Sen. Kay Hagan has had hundreds of thousands of individual health insurance policies canceled due to Obamacare regulations.
Sens. Russ Feingold, Blanche Lincoln and Arlen Specter were all also voted out in favor of Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections, which were marked by even more anti-Obamacare sentiment.
The falling numbers are likely not only due to public opposition to Obamacare. But with just half of the law’s original support in office, it has the potential to make it easier for the upcoming Republican Congress to make changes to the law.
Full-throated support appears to be slipping, even in Democratic leadership. Sen. Chuck Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat, charged recently that Congress shouldn’t have passed the health reform, which he admitted doesn’t help much of the middle class, until the economy had improved.
And Obamacare co-author Sen. Tom Harkin — who retired this year and will be replaced by vociferously anti-Obamacare Senator-elect Joni Ernst — said in an interview last week that the law is much too complicated and the Democrats should have gone for a single-payer system instead.