Will Open Enrollment Become a Marketing Headache for Dems?

Boeing Blames Health-care Reform for Cost Increases, Others Sure to Follow

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For those Americans lucky enough to have jobs and lucky enough to have employer-provided health care, the third quarter brings Halloween, Thanksgiving and open enrollment. Ah, open enrollment, when we try to make sense of the three or four health-care options. Do we contribute less and deal with the headaches of HMOs? Do we contribute more and waltz right into any specialist we want without permission slips from a primary-care physician?

And what about co-pays and deductibles? They're not going up again this year, are they? You better believe it, pal. This year, they may be going up more than we're accustomed to. It's happening at Boeing, where the company is attributing cost increases to a number of factors, including the health-care reform passed this year. And you can bet other companies are going to follow suit.

So what's the big deal?

The big deal is that open enrollment for a lot of companies will happen leading up to this November's elections. And Democrats -- especially those in vulnerable seats trying to put some distance between themselves and Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Barack Obama -- are likely going to hear about it from constituents.

Sure, you can chalk it up to corporate fat cats nickel and diming employees, using Congress and the president as scapegoats. But those corporate fat cats actually employ people. And many people who were gung-ho for health-care reform in the abstract might be Tea-Party mad to realize that some of the cost for said reforms will be coming out of their paychecks.

That might be an overly simplistic portrayal, but think about it in terms of advertising. What's easier to get across in 30 seconds on TV?

A) "Health-care reform is obviously a very complex subject and the cost increases you may be seeing now are not only temporary, it's simply big health-insurance companies trying to squeeze out more profits at the expense of you the voter. Indeed, one could argue that this is exactly why health-care reform was passed. As a Democrat, I felt this was a tough decision to make, but a necessary one."


B) "Hi. I'm a Republican. Did you notice that the Democrats' Obamacare Socialized Medicine Program jacked up the cost of your health-care plan? Are you mad about that? I know I am."