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Health Care Edge

Democrats Turn Obamacare Concerns Into Messaging Mess

November 7, 2013

Democrats Turn Obamacare Concerns Into Messaging Mess

Democrats are all over the place on Obamacare.

Wednesday's hearing with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was a messaging mess that swung from anger over HealthCare.gov to lowering expectations for the law to touting its main provisions. Between the lines, the message was clear: This thing needs to get fixed, and fast.

Vulnerable Democrats vented to President Obama at a White House meeting. Their frustration was also on display at the Finance Committee hearing with Sebelius, where Democrats called the law's enrollment problems unacceptable, even as Sebelius painted a bleak picture of the repair effort.

 

Obama was in Texas last night touting the law, but Democrats' tone on Capitol Hill was another reminder that the party can't message its way out of its current mess. Democrats won't be able to breathe easier until things are working. And that might take a while.

Sam Baker
sbaker@nationaljournal.com


TOP HEALTH CARE NEWS

By Sophie Novack and Clara Ritger

NO CONSENSUS ON GOP PLANS TO REPLACE OBAMACARE. Lawmakers have several bills, but leadership has yet to back one.

LAWMAKERS SHIFTING FOCUS FROM WEBSITE.
Even Republicans assume HealthCare.gov will be fixed, as both sides change their focus to more lasting impacts of the law.

OFFICIAL ASSOCIATED WITH OBAMACARE WEBSITE STEPPING DOWN. CMS would not say whether the departure was requested as a result of HealthCare.gov's problems.

SEBELIUS: DELAY OF OBAMACARE WEBSITE 'NOT AN OPTION.' The HHS Secretary says Americans waited long enough.

OBAMA, BIDEN MEET WITH SENATE DEMOCRATS ON HEALTH CARE WOES. The list of attendees included those who have proposed changes to the implementation of the law.

TOP U.S. INSURER EXPECTS ENROLLMENT DELAY. On a call with investors, a Humana executive said the company is assuming the administration will give consumers time beyond the March 31 deadline.

OBAMACARE IS FUELING SOME STICKER SHOCK.  Rates go up when insurance companies have to cover people with pre-existing conditions.

KEEP OBAMACARE ANECDOTES IN PERSPECTIVE. There will be many different stories to tell about changing health coverage as the Affordable Care Act takes effect.

DELAWARE EXCHANGE OFF TO A SLOW START. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said during Tuesday's Senate hearing that Alaska had 3 enrollees, and now Delaware reports 4.

VIRGINIA MEDICAID EXPANSION STILL HAS HURDLES. Though Terry McAuliffe is for it, there are a number of Republican factions still in the way.

Happening Today

NOVEMBER MEDPAC MEETING. The Medicare advisory group will focus much of their discussion on payment delivery reforms.

NURSE WORKFORCE MEETING. HHS and the Health Resources and Services Administration is meeting to discuss how nurses can be ready for the influx of patients once the Affordable Care Act takes full effect.


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