Why One Democrat Will Vote Against the President on Obamacare

To say West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall is unhappy with the Obamacare rollout would be an understatement

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Bill Clark / © 2013 CQ Roll Call / Getty Images

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W. Va.)

To say West Virginia Democrat Nick Rahall is unhappy with the Obamacare rollout would be an understatement.

“Who’s ever at fault down there at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should have been gone long ago,” said Rahall. “Heads should have rolled in my opinion.” But when pushed if that includes the President, Rahall took a step back. “He doesn’t write code,” he said.

Rahall is mad at more than just the website crash, and while his frustration of the President doesn’t go nearly as far as impeachment, he is going to vote Friday on a bill that would destabilize Obamacare much farther than the President has so far allowed.

The proposal Rahall supports, introduced by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), would allow insurers to continue to sell plans that don’t meet Obamacare’s essential benefits standard to anyone next year. On Thursday, Obama announced that he would only accept a one-year delay for those customers who have had their plans cancelled, if insurers decide to offer their old plans with a notification of what’s available in the federal marketplace. Upton’s plan, House Speaker John Boehner has told Republicans, advances the goal of “shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation,” according to National Review. Rahall will vote with the Republicans even after House Democrats propose a less stringent plan.

Rahall did vote for the Affordable Care Act in 2010, but since then has voted with Republicans as the law’s botched implementation hurt his political future. After the Administration announced in July that the employer mandate would be delayed until 2015, Rahall jumped on a bill with 21 other Democrats to delay the individual mandate for one year.

Rahall is in a competitive district: he won with 54% of the vote in 2012, down from 56% in 2010. While the state’s senators are Democratic, albeit more conservative than most, the other two Congressmen are Republicans in deep red districts.

Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group created by billionaire David Koch, announced last week that they are funding an anti-Obamacare television ad buy in Rahall’s district. Rahall, who is serving his 19th term, alluded to the group’s pressure in his press release announcing his support of the Upton plan.

“The well financed, out-of-state groups willing to exploit the law’s complexity to shamefully profit politically or financially from scaring the heck out of our ill and our elderly only make matters worse,” wrote Rahall.

Rahall’s vote Friday deflates the Obamacare attacks. He can say he stood up to the Administration, voting with the Republican-controlled House to stop Obamacare from cancelling policies. And his move will have no real consequences; the Administration announced Thursday night that it would veto the bill even under the unlikely scenario it passes the Senate.

6 comments
Dude_who_cares
Dude_who_cares

Because your in a competitive district you cave to the Koch brothers, and you are willing to undermine the very bill you voted for. Grow a pair! Go tell grandma and grandpa the truth. Ask them if they have gone to a death panel lately. No, that's because it's all BS, and the Republicans know it.

reallife
reallife

On the bright side Obama will have plenty of time for golf, nobody will be asking him for a campaign appearance this coming year.

LOL


drudown
drudown

Wow, this is really news. 

There's TRILLIONS of profits that the ACA use snatches out of the jaws of the Market Players. 

What's paying off a few lobbyists, greasing some wheels in the Congress and drafting some "news"?

Certainly the real "news" is that it is commercially impracticable to "reverse course" on the ACA [i.e., the COSTS to the People and Nation would be materially exacerbated; the WASTE would be incalculable and there is only a greater likelihood to manipulate prices post hoc, etc.]…so enough of the "sky is falling" or "self-fulfilling prophecy of failure" when concurrently thwarting Federal law. It's unbecoming.

barneydidit
barneydidit

Yeah!  We need to get rid of Obamacare and go with the Republican's plan for healthcare reform. I'm not exactly sure what that plan is...since I've never actually heard a Republican put one forward other than "tax cuts" and "vouchers"...but I'm sure the billionaire Koch brothers wouldn't be supporting an idea that leaves 40 million Americans without access to health care just because they weren't lucky enough to be born into a family in the oil business. 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@reallife Remind me again of the Republican success stories in that regard. Bush? McCain? Romney?