Obamacare Supporters Say Patience Pays When It Comes to Health Care Reform

President Obama takes questions from the media in the East Room of the White House on June 29, 2011.
National Journal
Sam Baker
Oct. 29, 2013, 4 p.m.

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.”

MOST READ
  1. 1 I’m Not Broken
What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
3 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:
×