White House

Obama Takes Friendly Fire

An ally of the president begins to panic over Obamacare fallout.

US President Barack Obama speaks about immigration reform in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, October 24, 2013. The President renewed his call for Congress to pass sweeping immigration reform.
National Journal
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Ron Fournier
Oct. 28, 2013, 4:51 a.m.

In­com­ing from Demo­crats:

“Dem Party is F****d.” That was the sub­ject line of an email sent to me Sunday by a seni­or Demo­crat­ic con­sult­ant with strong ties to the White House and Cap­it­ol Hill. The body of the email con­tained a link to this Los Angeles Times story about Obama­care “stick­er shock:”

“These middle-class con­sumers are star­ing at hefty in­creases on their in­sur­ance bills as the over­haul re­makes the health­care mar­ket. Their rates are rising in large part to help off­set the high­er costs of cov­er­ing sick­er, poorer people who have been shut out of the sys­tem for years.”

“Al­though re­cent cri­ti­cism of the health­care law has fo­cused on web­site glitches and early en­roll­ment snags, ex­perts say sharp price in­creases for in­di­vidu­al policies have the greatest po­ten­tial to erode pub­lic sup­port for Pres­id­ent Obama’s sig­na­ture le­gis­la­tion.”   

In his story, re­port­er Chad Ter­hune also quoted a let­ter sent to a Cali­for­nia in­sur­ance com­pany ex­ec­ut­ive. “I was all for Obama­care,” wrote a young wo­man com­plain­ing about a 50 per­cent rate hike re­lated to the health care law, “un­til I found out I was pay­ing for it.”

Also of in­terest to the Demo­crat­ic con­sult­ant: A Josh Barro column on Obama’s prom­ise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.” It was nev­er a reas­on­able pledge, Barro ar­gues, and it’s be­ing proven false. He called this “a good thing” be­cause “a lot of ex­ist­ing health plans were bad.” Re­form­ing the na­tion’s health care sys­tem “was ne­ces­sar­ily go­ing to have to change a lot of people’s health plans,” Barro wrote.

The Demo­crat­ic con­sult­ant said none of this is news to him, but he won­ders why Obama wasn’t hon­est with Amer­ic­ans. He pre­dicted sur­prise and out­rage over high­er costs and less­er cov­er­age. “We will own this prob­lem forever,” the Demo­crat wrote.

“I gave you four sur­plus budgets, all those jobs, de­clin­ing poverty.” Ac­cord­ing to Philip Ruck­er of the Wash­ing­ton Post, that is what former Pres­id­ent Clin­ton told Vir­gin­ia voters while cam­paign­ing for his pal, Demo­crat­ic gubernat­ori­al can­did­ate Terry McAul­iffe. While Clin­ton was not ref­er­en­cing the cur­rent pres­id­ent, it’s fair to won­der about Obama’s leg­acy if he leaves of­fice without more pro­gress on jobs and a budget deal that tames the na­tion’s debt. “Clin­ton didn’t have an in­sane GOP caucus to deal with,” said a White House of­fi­cial when posed the com­par­is­on. “I know you like to think (Clin­ton is) the Golden Age of polit­ics but things are dif­fer­ent.”

Bill Clin­ton showed “Amer­ica what can hap­pen when we fo­cus on the eco­nomy and work with both parties.” That is what McAul­iffe said at the same event. Funny how some Demo­crats think a pres­id­ent can fo­cus on the eco­nomy and work with the GOP without get­ting, well, fooled.


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