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By Donald Lambro
Growth spikes are little more than trend-free anomalies
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - Mark Begich
Attention shoppers: The Grand Old Party has a message for you. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is intent on grabbing the attention of Black Friday bargain hunters in Louisiana, Michigan, Alaska, Iowa and Georgia — all home to Democrats who are now vulnerable for re-election in 2014 because of their fierce endorsement of Obamacare.
For weeks, Capitol Hill lawmakers have heard stories of both frustration and success from folks back home trying to sign up for Obamacare. Now, lawmakers have their own tales to share.
The title of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's brand-new book tells all: "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge" is all about practical success and the inner mettle of an unapologetic Cheesehead determined to defeat his state's $3.6 billion deficit, rising unemployment and escalating property taxes.
Though a reported $684 million in taxpayer funds has been designated to promote Obamacare, health care providers are still failing to attract young, healthy Americans who will shore up the cost. Their answer? Frat boy talk is the best outreach, at least according to the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative — which recently wooed males with a raucous pitch for "bro-surance" that included a beer keg.
Feigned surprise over millions of canceled policies should fool no one
Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan is calling on federal inspectors to investigate the "unacceptable" rollout of the federal Obamacare website to examine what went wrong, who was at fault and how much it is costing to fix the mess.
President Obama's top health official told the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday she is responsible for the disastrous rollout of the Obamacare markets and that early enrollment numbers "are going to be very low," but ruled out delays to the law because sick Americans are relying on the reforms.
Pressure is mounting on Senate Democrats, notably those up for re-election in Republican-leaning states next year, to deal with Obamacare's flawed rollout when they get back to work Monday.
More Democrats on Wednesday joined the bipartisan calls for President Obama to reconsider his health care law's individual mandate, and the administration shifted its own emphasis from a Feb. 15 sign-up deadline to an end-of-March deadline for when Americans must prove they have coverage under the individual mandate.
Washington loves the blame game, and President Obama most of all. He woke up Tuesday morning with his finger primed to point at "one faction of one party in one house of Congress" for the partial government shutdown. He was, of course, talking about the conservative House Republicans he can't criticize often or harshly enough, but his words apply more accurately to the red-state Democrats in the Senate.
Sen. Ted Cruz's epic talk energized his tea party supporters and raised his profile ahead of the 2016 presidential contest, but there is little evidence that it fostered a rethink among voters or their elected representatives in the Senate, who said they didn't see an uptick in calls during the 21-hour affair.
Republican leaders said Tuesday that a filibuster attempt to prevent a spending bill from reaching the Senate floor was a losing tactic in the fight against Obamacare, and instead began to ramp up pressure on a handful of Democrats, saying the real battle will be an end-of-week vote specifically on whether to keep funding the health care law.
House Republicans passed their stopgap funding bill Friday to keep government open while terminating the new health care law, setting up a final showdown next week with Senate Democrats and President Obama who have firmly rejected that.
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska has taken offense to a Domino's Pizza ad that claims "no one has ever come up with a world-changing idea over halibut."
There is an emerging voter demographic for Democrats to ponder, one that gathers on Sunday with good cheer and deep thoughts: motivated and engaged churchgoers. Consider that 97 percent of theologically conservative pastors are registered voters, and the vast majority are Republicans.
Sen. Mark Begich, Alaska Democrat who faces re-election next year, announced last week that he had enrolled in Alaska's federally run exchange.
"I want to have the exact same experience and go through the same steps as other Alaskans when it comes to signing up for health care, which is why I have decided to refuse any federal subsidy and have signed up on Alaska's federally run Marketplace," Mr. Begich said.