Begich and Other Red State Senate Democrats In ObamaCare Damage Control Mode

Photo Credit: Alex Wong/Getty ImagesThree of the most vulnerable red-state Democrats are scrambling to neutralize the growing political threat that President Obama’s health care law is posing to their reelection campaigns.

This week, Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, and Mark Pryor of Arkansas have undertaken a series of unusually aggressive maneuvers designed to distance themselves from the health care law, whose botched rollout has raised concerns it will become a major liability for the 2014 midterm elections. The defensive steps are a smart political play from lawmakers already preparing in earnest for their reelection campaigns, but also amount to a tacit admission that Obamacare has already become a major headache.

Hagan is preparing to ask the inspector general of the Health and Human Services Department and the General Accounting Office for a full investigation into the health care law’s rollout, Politico first reported Monday. Begich, meanwhile, announced he personally enrolled in Alaska’s health care exchange the same morning, declining to take the federal government’s contribution to his plan. In a statement, he also called for a “full and transparent accounting of how the vendors contracted to build the site failed to launch it successfully,”

Pryor, considered the most vulnerable Senate Democrat next year, took the most aggressive action of the three. His campaign criticized a senior adviser working for Republican Rep. Tom Cotton for supporting a deal to implement Obamacare in Arkansas, according to The Hill. John Burris, who is a state lawmaker, voted earlier this year to effectively expand Medicaid in the state by helping poor citizens buy private insurance.

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