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.”
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”