Last Tuesday, Landrieu praised the law's open-enrollment figures. “Today's enrollment announcement confirms what I have said since Day One—the Affordable Care Act holds great promise and is getting stronger every day,” she said in a statement. But, she added, “I have also said since Day One that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect. No law is. That is why I continue to push to make it work even better, including proposals to expand the number of ways people can purchase coverage.”
Along with Landrieu, three other Senate Democrats are in toss-up re-election fights, Charlie Cook of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report wrote last week. They are Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.). In the House, the Cook Report rated 13 Democratic seats as a “toss-up or worse.” Republicans have spent millions attacking those candidates about Obamacare, and Republican response to the 7-million enrollment figure didn't indicate a sudden change of heart.
“Given that the intent of Obamacare was to cover the uninsured, the president's healthcare law is still a colossal failure. Boasting about enrollment numbers doesn't change that,” Americans for Prosperity, a conservative political advocacy group behind a number of ads targeting vulnerable Democrats, said in a written statement after the enrollment figures were released.
Expect Democrats to widen the discussion beyond the ACA to broader economic issues. “This election is about a choice,” the DNC's Czin said. “Democrats want to preserve the law, they want to make it work, but there's a whole host of other issues that speak to core economic issues”—such as immigration reform, minimum wage and pay equity—that will also be in play, Czin said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) downplayed Obamacare as a central campaign issue on Tuesday after the figures were released. “We're not running on healthcare; we're not running away from it,” Pelosi told reporters.
Democrats will focus in 2014 on drawing a contrast between values articulated in the White House budget, released last month, and a stringent new fiscal 2015 budget put forward by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) last week, she said.