ByÂ KEVIN SACK, The New York Times
ATLANTA â€” In the end, it may have mattered less whether vulnerable Democratic incumbents voted for or against the health care law than that they simply had a D by their names.
Virtually every House Democrat from a swing district who took a gamble by voting for the health law made a bad political bet. Among 22 who provided crucial yes votes from particularly risky districts, 19 ended up losing on Tuesday. That included all five members who voted against a more expensive House version last November and then changed their votes to support the final legislation in March.
But even the Democrats who bucked the White House and their partyâ€™s leadership by voting against the measure gained little protection. Of the 30 Democrats who opposed the final bill and then stood for re-election, 17 lost anyway.
Indeed, among 49 Democratic incumbents who lost on Tuesday, 32 had voted for the health care law and 17 against it.
Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, who advised SenatorÂ John McCainâ€™s presidential campaign on health care and economic issues, said voters had rebuked the Democrats in part because they had devoted more than a year to health care rather than jobs, and because the bill had become emblematic of overreaching.
â€œSo it didnâ€™t matter which way you voted,â€ he said. â€œIf youâ€™re a Democrat, you got punished.â€
Surveys of voters leaving the polls found deep division over the health law. Nearly half of voters â€” 48 percent â€” said they thought it should be repealed, while 31 percent said Congress should expand it and 16 percent said it should be left as is.
â€œWhen pollsters asked, voters listed health reform among the top issues on their mind, which is no surprise after a long, heated debate,â€ said Drew E. Altman, president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which conducts health policy research. â€œBut there is little evidence that it was decisive in the vote.â€
To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/04/us/politics/04health.html?_r=1
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