Kuster's choice: A firm embrace of Obama
U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-The White House, already sporting a dismal approval rating, might have destroyed her reelection chances on Thursday morning. In an interview with Laura Knoy on New Hampshire Public Radio's "The Exchange," Kuster declared in the clearest terms yet her unwavering support for Obamacare and for President Obama himself - both widely unpopular in New Hampshire. Here are the amazing positions she took.
Asked to name the one thing she would change about Obamacare, she came up with nothing. Not a single change in the law.
Despite saying several times during the interview that the law was not perfect, she could muster only this response:
"Well, one thing that's interesting, it's not necessarily about the law per se, but it's to get buy-in across the country. I think the number of states that are not participating and not engaging have made it a much more difficult roll-out."
Obamacare's problems were not caused by the law, but by the states refusing to participate, and her one big fix would be to bring in all the states. "I think for me it's making sure we have the time to have this play out and maybe a little bit more flexibility in those dates in the bill would've made a difference," she concluded.
Kuster returned repeatedly to her assertion that the people will like the law if they just wait for the kinks to work themselves out. Asked to respond to a listener who said Obamacare raised the price of his insurance and gave him coverage he did not want, she told the listener to wait.
"New Hampshire will be in a better position in 2015 when we have greater competition in our marketplace. Right now we have one provider, Anthem. We have two more looking to come in in 2015, and I think that's going to bring competition to the marketplace and bring down the rates that this person is worried about."
At one point she acknowledged that Obamacare has caused real harm. "You know, a lot of people are being dislocated in a sense. We've got winners and losers, and I want to make sure that we have as many winners as possible ... and as few people being dislocated by this change."
But still she says she would change nothing about the law except some of the deadlines. Incredible.
"We already have, as of Feb. 1, 16,000 people covered who never had health insurance coverage before," she said. But that is not entirely true. The 16,000 includes people who lost their coverage when Anthem canceled it last year. Anthem canceled coverage for more than 20,000 Granite Staters, so by Kuster's own figures, more Granite Staters have lost coverage under Obamacare than have gained it.
Still, she told Knoy she would have voted for the law, "dislocations" and all, had she been in Congress at the time.
As if to cement her electoral fate, she responded to a liberal critic who questioned her commitment to the Democratic Party by saying, "I am, I would say, probably one of the strongest supporters of the President in the entire United States Congress."
And so the emotion exhibited in her kiss of President Obama after his State of the Union address, caught by C-SPAN's cameras, is expressed verbally. Obama has a job approval rating of only 41 percent in New Hampshire, but Kuster loves the guy. Most Granite Staters disapprove of Obamacare, the latest UNH poll on the subject found, but Kuster likes it so much she would vote for it as-is, with no changes. How stunningly out of touch.