Then the problems with the Internet-based health exchanges came into focus, followed by millions of letters from insurance companies canceling individual policies that did not meet the health law’s minimum coverage requirements. Republicans found their voice. Democrats lost theirs. The polling gap closed, and Republican wallets opened. The National Republican Senatorial Committee raised $3.8 million in October, its best monthly showing of the year.
Representative Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, called it “a Category 5 political hurricane.”
New Hampshire may be ground zero in the political war over the Affordable Care Act, a state where the three Democratic members of the congressional delegation are under serious threat because of the fumbled rollout of the health care law. Suddenly they must balance their loyalty to the White House with the needs of an angry constituency that has had to absorb some of the worst problems with the new law.
The problems are many. The Tea Party-fueled legislature passed a law prohibiting the governor from setting up a state health insurance exchange, so the state must rely on the faulty federal government website, HealthCare.gov. So far, only 269 people have signed up for a plan that way, a total dwarfed by the number of residents whose policies have been canceled.
Ryan Williams, a Republican consultant from New Hampshire, noted that this year, 281 residents were issued permits to hunt moose. “You’ve got a better chance of winning the moose lottery than getting health care coverage through Barack Obama’s broken website,” he said.