Candidates Largely Ignoring Obamacare, But It Could Have Profound Effect on 2016 Election

Democrats worry about possible surge of anti-ACA sentiment right before voters go to polls

For such a controversial law that has been so politically toxic in recent years, we haven’t really heard much from major party presidential candidates about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Donald Trump says he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, but has not outlined a comprehensive plan to do so. Hillary Clinton says it’s important to “defend” the law and fix it. Regardless, it’s safe to say this has not been a central campaign issue for either of the presumptive nominees. 

But according to POLITICO healthcare reporter Paul Demko, Obamacare could play a more significant role in this year’s election than previously thought.

In a recent article, Demko notes that many people will see significant rate increases during the upcoming enrollment period, which begins November 1st. That’s just a week before voters go to the polls. Demko writes:

The last thing Democrats want to contend with just a week before the 2016 presidential election is an outcry over double-digit insurance hikes as millions of Americans begin signing up for Obamacare.


But that looks increasingly likely as health plans socked by Obamacare losses look to regain their financial footing by raising rates.

Demko tells Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson that plenty of people have benefitted in some way from the ACA. But he says he’s not sure that will make a difference in the outcome of the election.

“Twenty million people have gained coverage under Obamacare, but that’s still a rather small segment of the entire population,” he says. “For most Americans, this law has not directly impacted them.”

Polling data suggests that the law is still broadly unpopular, says Demko, “but if you unpack sort of the individual aspects of the law, like allowing kids to stay on their parents’ plans until age 26 and other provisions, they are generally pretty popular. So there’s a little bit of a disconnect in the electorate in terms of how they feel about the Affordable Care Act.”

To hear the full conversation, click on the audio player above.