Obama bears a lot of blame for the confusion on the recent cancellations. He set expectations when he promised that Americans could keep their health-care plans. His promise didn’t bear out, which looks like incompetence, dishonesty or both. High complexity was also the byproduct of Democrats’ choice to keep most of the existing system intact and build around it.Forbidden words for most pundits: maybe we should wait and see on Obamacare before rushing to judgment. Greg Sargent:
But health-care reform was always going to be complicated — and easy for uncomplicated ideologues to denounce. Republican demagoguery — from the days of “death panels” to the current frenzy over cancellation letters — has done much more to confound public understanding of the Affordable Care Act, not to mention the law’s implementation.
Next year, voters should judge the law based on how many more people ultimately get affordable health-care coverage, and at what cost to taxpayers. Right now, many appear to be judging the law based on misunderstandings and warped representations.
Senator Harry Reid appears set to go nuclear — before Thanksgiving.More politics and policy below the fold.
With Senate Republicans blocking a third Obama nomination to the powerful D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me Reid is now all but certain to move to change the Senate rules by simple majority — doing away with the filibuster on executive and judicial nominations, with the exception of the Supreme Court – as early as this week.
At a presser today, Reid told reporters he was taking another look at rules reform, but didn’t give a timeline. The senior leadership aide goes further, saying it’s hard to envision circumstances under which Reid doesn’t act.
Is the sky falling for Obamacare?Jonathan Cohn, whose work on ACA has been stellar:
You might think so from reading the press these days. On Monday, National Journal published a piece by Josh Kraushaar with the headline “Why Obamacare Is On Life Support” and a subhed that predicted “Democrats may begin calling for repeal if the law’s problems don’t get resolved soon.” CBS News’s Jake Miller also asked “Is the Affordable Care Act in serious jeopardy?” and Politico’s Todd Purdum went even further, warning of “Obamacare’s threat to liberalism.”
It’s true, of course, that the rollout of the new insurance exchanges has gone much more poorly than the administration expected, raising concerns among members of Congress, including Democrats who normally back Obama. The issue has become sufficiently damaging that 39 vulnerable House Democrats even voted in favor of a GOP healthcare bill. But the legislation has no chance of becoming law, which allowed those Democrats to cast a free vote that distanced themselves from the current controversy without actually undermining their party’s policy objectives.
At least some of these tales are precisely what they seem to be—stories of people paying more for less coverage, or facing increases that put real strains on their budgets, or moving to plans that don’t provide access to the same doctors and hospitals. You've read some of their tales in this space. These people are angry and feel deceived. That’s a totally legitimate story.Dana Milbank:
But how big a story should it be? To answer that, you need to know how many people actually fit these descriptions—and what might have happened to these people if the Affordable Care Act had never become law. It's impossible to answer either question with certainty, because reliable statistics aren’t available and there's no time machine for seeing how alternative futures might play out. But there are at least six reasons to think the real story is smaller—and way more complicated—than a credulous media would have everybody believe.
Republicans, of course, hope their sabotage will lead to the program’s repeal. But the exchanges are unlikely to fail; they are working more or less as intended in states that have supported the launch. The likelier outcome: Republicans will achieve nothing but an increase in the federal deficit, about which they profess to be concerned.First Read:
At the end of his spooky session with the press, Boehner was asked if he had plans to pass any health-care legislation before the end of the year. He had nothing to propose other than the ongoing effort to elevate the fear factor. “No decisions on what it is that we may or may not do,” he said. But one thing is certain: “Our members are going to continue to collect stories.”
It’s a safe bet they will be selected from the horror genre.
This isn't to say that other problems with the federal website won’t surface in the coming weeks and days. Indeed, Politico and Buzzfeed report that an administration official testified Tuesday on Capitol Hill that the payment and accounting portion of the website still needed to be completed (although the administration says those portions don’t need to be operational until 2014).More Greg Sargent:
And it isn't to say that the administration will meet its target in insuring up to seven million Americans by March 31 -- including a sizable portion of young, healthy adults to make the system work.
But it is to say that people's -- and the political media's -- impression of the website and enrollment could be a bit dated.
What was true two or three weeks ago might not be true anymore.
But here’s the flip side of this: If the federal website is mostly operational by the end of the month, it’s likely we’ll see a massive flood of advertising from insurance companies selling new plans over the exchanges. The advertising that was placed on hold may simply resume –and it may be heavily concentrated in December and the three months in 2014 leading up to the March 31st enrollment deadline.Thomas Edsall discussed the issues moving forward on ACA, and it's not all sweetness and light:
This comes by way of Scott Roskowski, the senior vice president for marketing for TVB, the trade group for commercial broadcasters. As the Wall Street Journal reported back in August, TVB had estimated, based on expected insurance industry profits, that insurance providers were set to spend $1 billion on ads over the next two years to woo new customers shopping on the exchanges. This was seen as a boon to the law’s chances — enrollment is crucial to its success – but it was forgotten after the website crashed.
Technology aside, the stakes could not be higher for the Democratic Party.Makes getting all voters, and not just older white voters, out to the polls in off year elections, and all elections, more and more important.
The Affordable Care Act “is often compared to Social Security and Medicare but these comparisons are imprecise and misleading,” as Edward Carmines, a political scientist at Indiana University, put it in an email: “The distinctive feature of the new health care law is its redistributive nature, which is mostly absent from Social Security and Medicare.”
Carmines went on, succinctly analyzing the political problem lying at the heart of Obamacare:“Most of the benefits of the new program will go to the poor and less-well-off and most of the costs will be born by the well off. Neither is true of Medicare or Social Security. When the new law was passed it was hailed by the New York Times as the most redistributive policy in a generation, and they were right. It was not sold as being markedly redistributive, of course, but that is how it was designed and will operate. This does not mean it is a bad policy or doomed to fail. But it does mean that it was bound to be caught up in controversy and heated debate.”
The closer we get to 12/14, the more stories like this we can expect to see:
BROOKFIELD -- Full-time emergency services dispatcher Gregory Beck, who was just elected to the Board of Education, has outraged school and town leaders who say they find offensive his Facebook post related to Sandy Hook anniversary tributes.Brookfield is the next town over. I get that people have divided views about guns, even on this site, but that's no reason to be an insensitive blockhead. Take whatever side you want, but not involving 12/14, a time for contemplation, not confrontation. It'll be difficult enough in town as it is, and that's why there's no formal memorial.
The outgoing Democratic school board chairman Ray DiStephan said he is so "disgusted'' he wants Beck to relinquish his seat. First Selectman Bill Davidson, who will also be stepping away from his job into a new role as minority selectman on Dec. 2, was equally appalled.
Board of Ethics Chairman Alice Carolan confirmed a request has been made for an investigation.
In response to a Newtown-based proposal for 26 Days of Kindness to honor the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, Beck's name appears below a Newtown Patch Facebook post that reads, "I shall buy my friends who are gun enthusiasts a box of ammunition for days 1-26.'' The 26 days were to begin Tuesday. Beck's post has since been removed.
Here's a better idea:
One month prior to the first anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school that took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators, a group of parents have a message: it's time to parent together.
Sandy Hook Promise, an organization formed by community members that includes relatives of the victims of the Dec. 14 , 2012 tragedy, kicked off their Parent Together campaign this morning on "Good Morning America."
"It's as simple as going to the website, SandyHookPromise.org, and making the promise to parent together. And by making that promise, you become part of a national community of parents who are committed to putting their children's lives first," Nicole Hockley, who lost her son, Dylan, told "GMA"'s Lara Spencer.