President Barack Obama's two biggest legislative triumphs — a healthcare overhaul and financial regulatory reform — have become liabilities for his fellow Democrats campaigning for the November 2 US congressional elections.
With the sputtering economy and a 9.6 per cent unemployment rate the chief issues for voters, some members of his own party blame Obama for failing to stimulate enough growth to give them an edge in hotly contested congressional races.
In the wake of reforms, health insurers have continued to hike rates and recent government projections show that the annual rate of health spending will increase. Despite a government crackdown on banks, consumers are still seeing credit card rates rise and banks remain tight-fisted with lending, even to borrowers with good credit.
The revamp of the $2.5 trillion healthcare system passed in March was a long-fought victory over the objections of Republicans and opposition from health insurers.
But with years to go before many of its provisions take effect, the overhaul has been a lightning rod for Republicans who blast what they call “Obamacare” as an unwarranted government intrusion in private industry. Opponents have railed against measures like the requirement that everyone must carry health insurance, or charged that the program will ration care, so that, for example, older Americans would be denied life-saving operations.
“What I want to do is repeal the ObamaCare and replace it with common sense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance and protect American jobs,” House Republican leader John Boehner said on Sunday.