President Obama told a meeting of state governors today that he backs waivers giving states “flexibility” to work out their own faith vis a vis ObamaCare. But that flexibility isn’t all it’s suggested.
Hosting governors of both parties on his own turf, Obama offered them what they often request: more flexibility as they cope with painful budget dilemmas. Declaring that he would “go to bat for whatever works,” Obama supported letting states propose their own health care plans by 2014 — three years faster than the current law allows.
Yet this would be no change to the fundamental requirements of a federal law that has divided the nation and prompted about half the states to try to overturn it through lawsuits. To gain new powers, states would first have to convince Washington that their plans would cover as many people, provide equally affordable and comprehensive care and not add to the federal deficit.
Basically, you can do what you want as long as you meet my goals, more or less my way. But his own plan doesn’t stack up to his own rules. ObamaCare doesn’t “cover” people, so much as it forces people to buy insurance or pay a fine. If they pay the fine, they’re still not covered. It doesn’t bend the affordability cost curve (except maybe to bend it up more steeply), and it does add to the federal deficit. Fortunately, the Republicans in the room didn’t seem to buy Obama’s new feint.
Around the same time the president was telling governors they could seek ObamaCare waivers, he had his PR staff telling liberal supporters why the waivers would end up fulfilling progressive dreams:
Health care advisers Nancy-Ann DeParle and Stephanie Cutter stressed on the off-record call that the rule change would allow states to implement single-payer health care plans — as Vermont seeks to — and true government-run plans, like Connecticut’s Sustinet.
The source on the call summarizes the officials’ point — which is not one the Administration has sought to make publically — as casting the new “flexibility” language as an opportunity to try more progressive, not less expansive, approaches on the state level.
“They are trying to split the baby here: on one hand tell supporters this is good for their pet issues, versus a message for the general public that the POTUS is responding to what he is hearing and that he is being sensible,” the source emails.
Obviously, that’s why the president praised Mitt Romney during today’s events. Romney implemented MassCare. Obama was putting the Moderate Face on for a while. That MassCare has proven to be an expensive failure doesn’t seem to be a problem.