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Congressional Incumbents Face Re-Election Heat Over Health Care Law

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
US Senate
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley

Oregon Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley Wednesday signed on to legislation to allow people to keep their current insurance plans under the new federal health care law.

It's the latest example of how the Affordable Care Act could be a hot topic in next year’s election.

Merkley says he’s supporting a proposal from fellow Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu aimed at keeping the promise that President Obama made that no one would lose their insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Some will, because their plans won’t qualify anymore.

It didn’t take long for the National Republican Senatorial Committee to call Merkley a "panicked politician" worried about winning re-election next year. Another Oregon Democrat, U.S. Representative Kurt Schrader, is criticizing the roll-out and also taking early heat from the GOP over the federal health care law.

Longtime Oregon political strategist Len Bergstein says you can expect to see a lot of such attacks.

"Clearly, a lot of money will be spent trying to tar Democratic incumbents who supported Obamacare with the source of all ills of the program."

Bergstein says incumbent Republicans will also be on the defense over the federal shutdown. But he says it’s not clear whether either issue will be at the top of voters’ minds at the election a year from now.

Copyright 2013 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.