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Dems Confident the Worst Is Over on Obamacare Hit

Will public disapproval of the healthcare law, Obama and Congress last into 2014 midterms?

by
Bill Straub

Bio

December 8, 2013 - 10:54 pm
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WASHINGTON – Democrats are breathing a sigh of relief over what effectively passes as a re-launching of the Obamacare website, with some lawmakers now expressing optimism that the healthcare reform law will fall to their political benefit.

Democratic office-holders like Sen. Mary Landrieu, of Louisiana, expected to face a tough 2014 re-election campaign, are once again embracing the Affordable Care Act. But Republicans argue the Affordable Care Act remains problematic and unsalvageable for a long list of reasons that extend well beyond a website, citing concerns about issues ranging from security to individuals losing their insurance coverage.

“The American people have been learning about the impact Obamacare will have on individuals and families in the form of higher premiums, disrupted insurance, and lost jobs—more broken promises from the administration,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky. “And they’re becoming increasingly aware of the fact Obamacare is broken beyond repair. The only ‘fix’ is full repeal followed by step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that drive down costs and that Americans actually want.”

Rep. Steve Israel, of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, countered that continued GOP attacks prove the party is only concerned with sabotaging the new law while Democrats continue their efforts to fix a broken healthcare system.

“Republicans’ only playbook is to take us back to a system that didn’t work, led hardworking people into bankruptcy and gave insurance companies unchecked power to deny care and drop coverage,” Israel said. “Democrats are going to relentlessly remind Americans that one party wants to fix the Affordable Care Act – and one party wants to repeal the law and put the fix in for insurance companies.”

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, Democrats and Republicans appear to agree on only one thing – the official Oct. 1 rollout was an unmitigated disaster. Under the law, everyone is required to purchase health insurance, with those unable to afford a policy receiving governmental subsidies. The official website, HealthCare.gov, was supposed to provide consumers with a marketplace to pick and choose coverage.

But the website didn’t work from the beginning. It crashed often, was extremely slow on the occasions it was operational and potential enrollees often got part way through the process before the system ate the information provided.

President Obama ultimately took responsibility for the untold number of “glitches” and vowed to have the website up and running smoothly by Dec. 1. That goal has, for the most part, been met although all problems have not been ironed out – while only about 26,000 people were able to choose a health plan in October about 100,000 people were able to make their way through the system in November.

Regardless, the devastating roll-out carried political consequences and questions remain whether Democrats, with a tenuous hold on the Senate, can recover. A CBS News poll conducted in mid-November showed that just 31 percent of Americans approved of the law, while 61 percent disapproved. The survey further showed that fewer Americans view Mr. Obama as honest and trustworthy and fewer Americans approved of congressional Democrats’ job performance.

But Democrats believe the performance upgrade provides them with an opening. Landrieu was so distressed by the law’s dismal lift-off and its potential impact on her re-election chances that she introduced legislation permitting individuals to keep their health insurance plans even if they don’t meet standards mandated by the law – a proposal unlikely to come up for a vote as a result of opposition from Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, of Nevada.

A mid-November poll conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research showed Landrieu’s approval rating among Louisiana voters dropping 10 points over a six-month period to 47 percent, most likely because of her vote for the healthcare law. Yet, despite her ongoing concerns – “there should have not been a glitch in the software” she told MSNBC recently – Landrieu said she continues to support Obamacare.

“The Affordable Care Act, as I said, the bill itself has got very good concepts and, yes, I would support it again,” she told the network.

Sen. Mark Pryor, of Arkansas, another Democrat on shaky ground – a mid-October University of Arkansas poll showed him in a virtual tie with Rep. Tom Cotton, R-(Ark.) – remains unenthusiastic about the prospects of the law serving as an asset in his re-election campaign but it continues to carry his less than whole-hearted support.

“As I’ve said many times throughout this process, I will always work to find responsible solutions to fix problems where they exist,” he said.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Republicans shouldn't forget what an American woman living in France told me about that country's healthcare system.

She had a flu and went to a doctor. He gave her a long list of medicines to take. She told him, in essence, "I'm not French. This isn't covered for me." He then gave her a much shorter list that would do as well.

Socialized medicine is very political medicine, she explained to me. It over treats the flu because lots of people get the flu, even though that treatment makes little or no difference in the final outcome.

On the other hand, serious illnesses such as cancer are rate and those who have them are often so consumed by illness, they have little time to get political. No French politician need fear getting voted out by cancer patients who are getting second rate care. The result can be seen in the statistics. People in the U.S. live two to six years longer after first diagnosis than those in European countries.

There's also another technique socialized schemes use, something we might call 'medical theater.' Almost anytime someone is hospitalized in UK TV show, they're hooked to monitors that go beep. The monitors don't cost very much and, for many patients, they're of no use. But for the family of patients, it looks like the hospital is getting very high tech and doing everything it can to save them.

Between the two, over treating self-correcting problems and medical theater, Europe's socialized medicine has been able to embed itself into the minds and hearts of Europeans. The real question is whether that's true here. Here hospitals don't use medical theater, for instance. If you're hooked to a heart monitor, you need to be hooked to one.

But it's questionable whether similar schemes will work in the U.S. Keep in mind that Europe socialized medicine after WWII, when the distinction between mediocre care and top-notch care was smaller than it is today and when medical innovation meant inexpensive treatments like antibiotics. That gap between the best care and merely mediocre care is much wider today. It matters far more and the difference will be far harder to conceal.

--Michael W. Perry, My Nights with Leukemia: Caring for Children with Cancer
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Everything is fine; just a few little glitches,... like no ID security, no payment system in the back end, failure to send insurance companies policy purchase data, doctors and hospitals opting not to participate, much higher premiums, massive deductibles, young healthies not signing up, exchange risk pools made up almost exclusively of the old and and sick, no check to see if medicaid recipients are legit, employer-paid plans about to get dumped by the millions, recruitment drives being run by ACORN unions, death panels, and millions who had policies cancelled but won't have any insurance at come 1/1/2014, many of whom think HAD signed up for new insurance.

Other than that, obamacare is working great!
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
If the Democrats are really breathing a sigh of relief over the "fixing" of Healthcare.gov, they are even stupider than I gave them credit for. The back-end doesn't work! Important parts of the back-end were never written in the first place! The administration admits that the error rate for 834 transmission is still an astronomically high 10% -- and I bet that for them to admit such a high number, it must be even worse than that.

That means that if they manage to sign up, say, 600K enrollees by December 31st, as many as 200K won't have the insurance they thought they signed up for come January. And since the reconciliation system is one of the important modules that was never written, it will take the insurance companies months to sort out the back-log of errors.

All hell is going to break loose in January, as thousands of people find out they have no health insurance at all, even though they signed up for it. And the Democrats think the worst is over? They ain't seen nuthin' yet.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (18)
All Comments   (18)
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Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare, Obamacare,
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
The ObamaCare launch was just a small taste of what's to come. Are our politicians so short-sighted that they don't see the damage the EM will have beginning in 2015? Insurance companies have already begun making plans to comply, re-calculating premiums in light of the ObamaCare mandates. By August or September of next year, corporations and small businesses alike will be making decision on whether to pass huge new costs spikes onto their employers or drop insurance altogether and pay the fine, I mean tax. If Congress thinks last month was bad, they will be gobsmacked next October.

Fifty to eighty million Americans are on the cusp of losing their group health insurance. Let the fireworks commence.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I seem to recall that the democrats were whining that Obamacare was more than just a website when that website was imploding so spectacularly in October.

Now that the website is (somewhat) functional, they are declaring victory???

Sorry to burst their bubble, but there is so much rot in this law that I fear the only effect the law working as intended is - it will be working as intended.

If that happens, I expect to see a LOT of folks getting seriously ticked off as one shoe drops after another (massive deductables, sky high premiums, reduced coverage, medications not covered, fire departments being shut down, etc.) as this law takes full effect.

Oh, and I hope Chief Justice John Roberts gets a belly full of this crap of a law he upheld when it was within his power to shut it down!
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
You purchase insurance to protect yourself in case of catastrophe, but if a catastrophe happens and you can still get insurance (can't be turned down for pre-existing conditions), then you are already protected in case of catastrophe, and common sense says you should just pay cash for the medical care you must have and save thousands of dollars every year.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Germany has had government funded healthcare for over 130 years. Since then it has consistently been cut to reduce expenses. They too promised more than they could deliver. To many democrats, this is utopia.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Either the American people can be shocked back to reality or not. Either we have crossed the Rubicon or not. In November 2014 we'll see one of two things:

1. The American people's memories of having their insurance policies and doctors ripped away from them will still be fresh enough - and they've realized how badly the Dems have shafted them - that Dems lose their cushy congressional seats in droves.

2. The MSM, under the command of Obama are able to put the American people back in the pre-Obamacare-rollout hypnotic trance and nothing much changes electorally.

November 2014 will tell us if we have any hope of saving our country.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
The biggest problem with the law is that it is a pile of garbage.

I think the problem Dems have is that they are all in, like it or not. Might as well lie about it, pretend all is fine.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well you know, we have been telling you it's not only Obama who lacks brainpower! Maybe now the public will wake up to the fact that democrats only requirement is "how can I fool them today"! Nobody ever said they were smart!
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
It won't get better. Every time some one signs up, they will see that they are getting less for more money. Further, they will lose their old doctors and not have access to the best hospitals.

These frauds demand that the benefits be concentrated and the cost spread, a sort of loaves and fishes. Here the costs are concentrated and very visible while benefits are really hard to the beneficiaries to see.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
Exactly so. This time, people can see the cost to themselves. They thought it all a great idea, until they found out that they, themselves, will be the ones paying for it all. There s no getting around it, now. They will want this repealed, and will vote accordingly. Gonna be another wave election.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's enough people dependent on government that there won't be a significant impact on the election. Republicans are going to have to get serious and effectively get out the vote to have any chance at all.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
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