No, 2014 Won’t Be a Referendum on the Minimum Wage.

by Jim Geraghty

Democrats want to make the 2014 midterms a referendum on raising the minimum wage.

Yeah, that will surely overshadow everyone’s problems with their health insurance under Obamacare!

Remember, thousands upon thousands of Americans are going to get a rude surprise at the beginning of the year, when they visit a doctor and find they aren’t actually covered:

There’s no way to tell how many people who think they’ve signed up for health insurance through the U.S. exchange actually have, after about 1 in 4 enrollments sent to insurers from the federal website had garbled included incomplete information.

They have similar problems on the state exchanges:

California is currently buried under more than 20,000 incomplete paper applications for health insurance through the Golden State’s online marketplace, Covered California.

And in Minnesota:

“At this late date, the health plan companies do not have most of the names or information on individuals who have enrolled through MNsure,” Julie Brunner, executive director of the Minnesota Council of Health Plans wrote in a letter to MNsure Executive Director April Todd-Malmlov and Lucinda Jesson, Minnesota Commissioner of Human Services.

After December 31, some of these people will go to their doctors or specialists, or visit hospitals, only to find they are not insured and will need to pay the costs out of pocket. (Also, they may find themselves with the tax bill if they don’t sign up by March 31.)

And here’s how it’s playing in New Hampshire for those who haven’t lost insurance or had problems signing up through the exchange:

Step inside a small diner called Chez Vachon in a working-class section of Manchester, N.H.,, and you’d never guess the White House is actually regaining its footing on the health care rollout. The president is reporting promising enrollment numbers and a faster website, but John Hill couldn’t care less.

“My insurance just went up a thousand dollars,” says Hill. “We asked why the price of the insurance was so high. They said, ‘Well, the new Obamacare law. That’s the reason why.’ “

That law had some pretty severe repercussions in New Hampshire. A strong Tea Party faction in the state Legislature voted down a state health insurance exchange, so everyone in the state applying for insurance under the Affordable Care Act has to sign up on the federal government website.

But that federal exchange has drawn only one insurance provider for New Hampshire: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. And Anthem shut out 10 of the state’s 26 hospitals from its health plans on the exchange, which means traveling in a car for an hour or more for many people in northern New Hampshire who need to see a doctor.

Hill says he’s absolutely not voting for [Obamacare-backing incumbent Democrat Jeanne] Shaheen next year.
“She voted for this. She knew what she was getting into,” says Hill. “Now she realizes, ‘Oh, this is a big mistake.’”

So no, loudly proclaiming a desire to hike the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour will not cheer or placate these voters.