Analysts: Backing Health Reform Not Top Reason for Democrats’ Losses
Although most House Democrats who voted in favor of the federal health reform law lost in Tuesday's midterm elections, their votes for the overhaul seemingly contributed less to their losses than their party, the New York Times reports.
Among 22 House Democrats from "particularly risky districts" who voted in favor of health reform, 19 lost their re-election bids on Tuesday, including five who opposed an earlier health reform bill in the House in November 2009 but supported the final legislation in March.
However, 17 of 30 Democrats who opposed the final bill lost their re-election bids anyway. Ultimately, of the 49 Democratic incumbents in the House who lost, 32 voted for the final reform bill while 17 voted against it.
Many observers have said that it was not House Democrats' position on health reform that ultimately got them voted out of office.
Drew Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, said, "[T]here is little evidence that [the health reform law] was decisive in the vote."
Some Republicans have characterized the midterm elections as a referendum on the overhaul.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin -- a health care adviser on Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign in 2008 -- said that many voters saw health care as a Democratic initiative that took focus away from creating jobs, so they rebuked the entire party on Election Day.
Still, Holtz-Eakin said, "So it didn't matter which way you voted. If you're a Democrat, you got punished" (Sack, New York Times, 11/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.