Worried Senators Press Obama on Health Law

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from The Wall Street Journal,

After Tuesday Election Results, Democrats Fear Political Toll From Affordable Care Act Woes.

Democratic senators took their complaints about the troubled launch of the federal health law directly to the White House Wednesday, as the surprisingly close governor’s race in Virginia prompted some in the party to warn that they would face voter backlash next year if the problems weren’t fixed.

Republicans and a number of Democratic officials say distaste for the health law aided Ken Cuccinelli, the losing GOP candidate in Virginia, who focused heavily on the health law in the campaign’s final weeks. Polls for weeks had longtime Democratic fundraiser Terry McAuliffe breezing to an easy victory, but he won Tuesday by less than three percentage points.

Among the more than a dozen Democratic senators who pressed President Barack Obama to fix problems with the law’s implementation that have frustrated many Americans were several senators who face particularly tough races next November, including Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska.

The Virginia results also fueled a debate among Republicans about strategy for the next election. Some pointed to GOP Gov. Chris Christie’s easy re-election in New Jersey to argue that his inclusive tone offered a winning model. But conservatives said the apparent potency of the health-law issue argued for the party to sharpen its ideological edges.

Worries run deep in Democratic circles that persistent problems with the health-law rollout could give a boost to Republican candidates, especially if the problems drag into next year. As evidence, both sides point to Virginia, where the merits and flaws of the law played a central role in the governor’s race.

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