Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that his old boss either needs to announce a fix or support a Senate bill to rectify Obamacare’s problems or there will be “huge” Democratic support for a GOP bill in the House tomorrow.
The House Rules Committee has a 3 p.m. meeting today to advance the Keep Your Health Plan Act of 2013, sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
On the Senate side, support has been growing for Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) bill to allow people to keep their healthcare plans. “This bill provides a simple fix to a complex problem,” said co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “This bill will extend the grandfather date for individual insurance plans so that individuals who have insurance policies they like can keep them indefinitely, unless the individual chooses another plan or the insurer stops providing health insurance in the individual market.”
Gibbs said on MSNBC that people need to “remember it’s a policy problem, not communication problem.”
“Either the White House announces a legislative or administrative fix, and I think that’s probably hard or supports either — probably comes out and support of something like the Landrieu bill in the Senate,” he said.
One of those things “has to happen,” he stressed, or “you’ll see huge numbers of Democrats come out in support of the Upton bill, even if they don’t absolutely believe that that’s this — what solves the problem, that’s what people think will solve the problem.”
The White House just updated the daily schedule to add a statement from President Obama in the press room at 11:35 a.m.
Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Doyle (D) said he told the White House yesterday “members of Congress aren’t judged by administrative fixes, they’re judged by their voting record.”
“And people wanna be on the record that we made a commitment to the American people that they could keep their insurance if they like it, and we wanna fix that,” Doyle added.
Gibbs said he still thinks “the huge 98 percent of this problem is the website.”
“There’s basically 6.9 million people with a month less, in terms of that window that have to go, that’s gonna put tremendous strain on the website,” he said. “The website is a giant mess, to begin with. And it’s got to be fixed. The good news for the administration is — in the figures they released yesterday, 846,000 people completed an application, covering 1.5 million people. Right? They haven’t yet selected an insurance plan. The 106,000 people have selected an insurance plan.”
“So there’s demand for this. There’s curiosity. There’s demand for health care, that’s not surprising. We had tens of millions of people without health care. The question now is, is there a vehicle.”
“It’s not surprising that the numbers are 100,000 at this point. I mean, people have been told the website’s not working properly,” Doyle said. “Three — three times as many sign-ups in the state exchanges as in the federal exchange. But the bottom line is this, once that website starts to function, as we intend it to function, I — I agree with Robert, I think, a lot of this starts to go away.”