Mary Landrieu Wrestles An (Obamacare) Alligator : It's All Politics How's the Louisiana senator responding to GOP efforts to tie her to the Affordable Care Act's problems? Partly with an ad that gives her outsize credit for President Obama's decision to change course and let people keep health plans next year that would otherwise be canceled under the new law.
NPR logo Mary Landrieu Wrestles An (Obamacare) Alligator

Mary Landrieu Wrestles An (Obamacare) Alligator

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is facing a tough re-election bid. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

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J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is facing a tough re-election bid.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

In any conversation about vulnerable Senate Democrats, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana rises straight to the top of the list.

It's bad enough for the three-term senator that she must run for re-election next year in a state as red as boiled crawfish, where President Obama got just 40.6 percent of the vote — and the best she's been able to do is 52 percent.


Her support for the Affordable Care Act has only made matters worse. The snafu and insurance policy cancellations have contributed to a drop in her poll numbers and given Republicans plenty of fodder.

The law's troubles even prompted an anti-Landrieu National Republican Senatorial Committee ad inspired by the famous 1984 Ronald Reagan bear-in-the-woods-equals-Soviet Union ad. The NRSC ad has a Louisiana swamp twist: a scary alligator paddling through dark water equals Obamacare.

How does Landrieu wrestle that particular reptile? Partly with her own ad in which she seems to take outsize credit for Obama's belated decision to let people keep insurance policies for next year that would otherwise have to be canceled for failing to meet the ACA's minimum requirements.


Landrieu's ad links her introduction of legislation to let people keep their policies to the president's decision. It uses a news bite of her: "I'm fixing it. And that's what my bill does. And I've urged the president to fix it." Near the ad's end the words "The Result" appear on-screen with a newspaper headline: "People now allowed to keep health care plans."

The Obama administration, of course, was pressured from all directions, and Landrieu was just one of many Democrats who urged the president to act.

As scientists are found of saying, correlation isn't causation. But from her campaign's perspective, Landrieu has to do something to try to flip the GOP's Obamacare script and improve her chances at a fourth term.

Your Questions About The American Health Care Act

NPR's interactive guide to the Affordable Care Act. NPR hide caption

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NPR's interactive guide to the Affordable Care Act.


In recent months, NPR staff has published a series of questions-and-answer stories related to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Now we've compiled them into an interactive so you can explore answers that are most relevant to you.

There are nearly 80 questions, ranging from who's eligible to how much insurance might cost, among two dozen topics. Filter the list by selecting categories or asking questions.

Did we miss an important question? Let us know.