Republican National Committee data scientists are building a list of the millions of Americans who lost their insurance policies through Obamacare in hopes of aiming campaigns at those people this year and in the 2016 presidential election, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.
“Getting that information and having good data as to who votes, who doesn’t vote, voter registration, party affiliation, consumer characteristics, cross-referenced with that kind of information, I think, is important for us to have,” Priebus told the Washington Examiner after participating in a Conservative Political Action Conference panel talk on Saturday.
Priebus said the RNC has not had difficulty finding tech staffers, and has brought in some top engineers from sites like LinkedIn, Yahoo, and Facebook to work on the data projects.
The cancellations stand to play a key role in this year’s midterm elections, with many Democratic Party leaders urging candidates to talk openly about Obamacare issues while offering their own solutions to fix them.
The new approach, Democrats say, is based on polls such as a CBS News survey in January, which showed people agree the healthcare law has some good aspects, but changes are needed to make the law better.
In Colorado, where Fox News reported late last year that 250,000 people received cancellation notices, Obamacare is expected to make a huge impact on elections.
Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is challenging Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in November, and Udall has been arguing about whether the figures are valid, The Denver Post reports. But Jo Donlin, director of external affairs for the state insurance division, insisted the figures are right, saying many people have renewed policies, but “regardless, they received cancellation notices.”
The Obama administration also eased some election pressure on Democrats about a week ago when it announced a directive allowing insurers to keep offering health plans that did not meet minimum Obamacare coverage requirements, reports The Hill.
Without the delays, another wave of health insurance cancellations would likely have hit this fall, just before voters headed to the ballots in November.
“I don’t see how they could have a bunch of these announcements going out in September,” one consultant in the health insurance industry said. “Not when they’re trying to defend the Senate and keep their losses at a minimum in the House. This is not something to have out there right before the election.”
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By Sandy Fitzgerald