Though the health care bill is far from signed, one thing is becoming clear – when it does become law, some of the reforms won’t kick in for several years.
Political hands are worried that delay could spell trouble in the 2010 midterm Congressional elections and, tougher still, in 2012 when President Obama starts a reelection bid.
“It’s a huge problem, a bigger picture problem,” said James Boyce, a Democratic consultant who has worked on presidential campaigns and who advises the team behind Public Option Please.Boyce said the Democrats could very well lose majority next year, and if that happens “none of the reform would happen anyway, and we would have had this whole debate for nothing.”
“2013 is an incredibly long time given the seriousness of this situation and the need to reform the health care industry,” Boyce said. “If the Democrats aren’t even willing to draw a line in the sand and make this happen while they were in charge, they should be humiliated and they would deserve to lose.”
A source familiar with the 2010 campaigns said the earlier the better from a political perspective.
“With so many people struggling right now with rising health care costs, the earlier that the reforms kick in the more danger Republicans will be in for standing in the way,” the source told TPMDC.
“In 2010, if people feel that someone fought to lower the costs of their health care, they’ll be rewarded at the ballot box,” the source said.
The White House has repeatedly dismissed worries along these lines, saying that Obama wants a bill as quickly as possible and that the broad parameters he’s outlined will help millions of Americans.
That’s one reason Democrats have been talking about reforms that will kick in immediately.
As Politico has reported, some Democrats are trying to get the benefits sped up, and they may succeed.