President Obama is looking for one thing as he travels to Boston on Wednesday for a health care speech: patience.
He is scheduled to talk about Massachusetts’ experience passing a bipartisan health care bill, under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, that was nearly identical to the Affordable Care Act. And he’s scheduled to do it on the same day lawmakers will be grilling his top health care official over the technical problems undermining enrollment.
The implicit message is clear: This doesn’t have to be so partisan. When states lean in and try to make reform work, it can work well.
Previewing Obama’s speech on Tuesday, White House officials and Obamacare supporters also said that Massachusetts’ experience makes the case for patience with the bumpy beginning of the federal enrollment process.
“The success of health care reform needs to be measured in months and years, not days and weeks,” said Jonathan Gruber, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who helped design both health care laws. “We didn’t freak out about daily or weekly enrollments. We looked at it monthly.”
The Health and Human Services Department now says HealthCare.gov, the main portal for Obamacare enrollment, will be totally functional by the end of November. Experts say that’s enough time to avoid long-term damage to the law, but it still leaves the door open for another full month of negative headlines and constant attacks from Republicans.
Just 0.3 percent of the people who ultimately enrolled in Massachusetts’ system did so in the first month, White House adviser David Simas said on a conference call with reporters.
Gruber said, “Many healthy people waited until that last minute to sign up.”
What We're Following See More »
The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals "has upheld the nationwide block of President Donald Trump's executive order restricting travel from several predominantly Muslim countries. ... It upholds the suspension of a revised version of the executive order that the Trump administration crafted to better hold up to legal scrutiny than an earlier version."
"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."