The Obamacare Debate Is Not Over, Mr. President

On Obamacare, millions of Americans are signed up but not sold.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 14: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on the Affordable Care Act in the White House briefing room November 14, 2013 in Washington, DC. The president said 'This one is on me,' and announced that canceled insurance plans would be renewed for a year.
National Journal
Ron Fournier
April 29, 2014, 4:26 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama con­fuses high en­roll­ment num­bers with suc­cess on Obama­care, ig­nor­ing the ob­vi­ous fact that mil­lions of Amer­ic­ans are signed up but not sold.

“The point is, the re­peal de­bate is and should be over. The Af­ford­able Care Act is work­ing,” the pres­id­ent said while an­noun­cing the en­roll­ment of more than 8 mil­lion Amer­ic­ans. That is not the point. The de­bate is not over.

The fact is that Amer­ic­ans are re­quired un­der the ACA to ob­tain health in­sur­ance or pay a tax. After a rocky launch, the ad­min­is­tra­tion cleared the first and easi­est hurdle in a long road to im­ple­ment­a­tion: En­for­cing a man­date.

Now the White House has to show that a massive new mar­ket­place, over­seen by a dis­trus­ted fed­er­al gov­ern­ment, can shrink the pool of un­in­sured without en­ra­ging the ma­jor­ity of people who are re­l­at­ively happy with their status quo. This is the hard part that Obama glossed over when he disin­genu­ously prom­ised voters that they could keep their doc­tor and in­sur­ance plans if they liked them. Rather than hon­estly ex­plain the com­plic­ated law and ask for pa­tience and shared sac­ri­fice, the pres­id­ent dis­sembled.

And now he pays.

A new Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC poll shows that Amer­ic­ans aren’t buy­ing Obama’s latest spin, his clos­ing the door on de­bate, es­pe­cially when it comes to the qual­ity and cost of their own health care.

  • By a two-to-one mar­gin, more people think the qual­ity of care they re­ceive is get­ting worse rather than bet­ter un­der Obama­care (29 per­cent to 14 per­cent). A ma­jor­ity says the qual­ity has stayed the same.
  • By a two-to-one mar­gin, more people think the na­tion’s health care sys­tem is get­ting worse, not bet­ter (44 per­cent to 24 per­cent). Less than a third say the qual­ity of U.S. health care is about the same.
  • Nearly half of Amer­ic­ans say their per­son­al health care costs are in­creas­ing un­der Obama­care (47 per­cent). Just 8 per­cent re­port de­creases.
  • A strong ma­jor­ity say the over­all costs of the U.S. health care sys­tem are in­creas­ing (58 per­cent). Just 11 per­cent see de­creases.
  • Des­pite the fact that the ad­min­is­tra­tion hit its first en­roll­ment goals, half of those polled said ACA im­ple­ment­a­tion is go­ing worse than they ex­pec­ted. Four-in-10 say the start has ex­ceeded ex­pect­a­tions.
  • Roughly the same per­cent­age of people sup­port the law as op­pose it (44 per­cent to 48 per­cent).
  • Just 37 per­cent ap­prove of how Obama has handled his sig­na­ture le­gis­lat­ive achieve­ment.

None of this means that Obama­care is doomed. The pres­id­ent has shuffled his team to put ex­per­i­enced man­agers in po­s­i­tion to nav­ig­ate the tough policy and polit­ics ahead. Voters may even­tu­ally give him cred­it for stretch­ing the safety net in­to the 21st cen­tury. And rival Re­pub­lic­ans risk over­reach­ing: Op­pos­ing health care to mil­lions is not a polit­ic­al slam dunk. Sev­er­al polls show that most voters, even in con­ser­vat­ive states, op­pose re­peal­ing the law.

Strictly speak­ing, that was Obama’s point when he said “the re­peal de­bate” is over, but the White House’s cel­eb­rat­ory re­sponse to the en­roll­ment achieve­ment had the un­mis­tak­able air of a vic­tory lap. The pres­id­ent risks in­sult­ing a vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans by dis­miss­ing their con­cerns with a con­sult­ant’s talk­ing point. The de­bate is not over. It has just be­gun, and Obama can’t af­ford any more blows to his cred­ib­il­ity.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4911) }}

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
4 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
4 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
4 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×