Back in September, during the government shutdown talks and ultimately an actual shutdown, I was writing about how I felt GOP demands were unreasonable. They wanted a wholesale dismantlement of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and wouldn’t settle for anything else. Of course, that’s how negotiations begin, with absolutes. Eventually the GOP came around to the simpler and seemingly more reasonable “just put off Obamacare for a year so we can fix it.” At the time, the President rightly refused to allow any further delay in the implementation of Obamacare, the shutdown ended, life continued.
So, why am I now reading that just a month and a half after the shutdown/Obamacare war that President Obama himself has decided to put Obamacare off for a year because *gasp* some terrible insurance plans which don’t meet the ACA’s standards are being cancelled because they’re now illegal? Why am I reading that despite fighting that ridiculous shutdown battle in September that the President has essentially stated through his actions that “whoops, guess you GOP peeps were right after all. I guess we do need to put it off for a year.”
A quick lesson in politics, Mr. President, you’re not helping anyone by doing this. You’re not helping those Senators and Congresspersons who’ll be running in mid-terms next year, you’re not helping those persons whose terrible insurance plans are being cancelled, and you’re sure as hell not helping your own ability to get anything at all done between now and 2016. You seem to think you have a lot of time. You don’t. Credibility creates time and options. You’ve lost credibility so now you’ve lost time.
I’ve nearly become convinced that there is no apology Barack Obama will not make. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about some BS global apology tour here. That didn’t happen. What I’m talking about is the man’s willingness to entertain bullshit as if it is both reasonable and worth listening to.The following are some bullet points regarding ACA facts and political realities.
- Only circa 5% of insurance policies are being cancelled and they’re being cancelled because they don’t meet the ACA’s standards of care.
- Insurance companies change their plans at will and, often, yearly. I just got kicked out of my old one by Humana and was forced to buy a new and different one. That’s nothing to do with the ACA and everything to do with what Humana has decided they want to offer. This was happening before the ACA and people were complaining about it then too.
- The final stages of the ACA’s have begun, the website sucks but it’s getting better and by the new year it will be gold because the USG is spending enough money on it to overthrow Syria ($292 million).
- People have already bought insurance across the country through the Federal and State exchanges. Many are going to be pissed that they did this only to now find out that they didn’t have to.
- The President doesn’t have the power to force insurance companies to continue offering existing insurance plans. They’re private companies. He can’t make them keep offering these plans.
- The President is creating even more uncertainty about the ACA. I don’t care who’s mad, the ACA is better than what we currently have. Pushing through the criticism and getting to a place where it’s working is more important than making people who already hate the ACA and the President feel better briefly…besides, you’re not making them feel better because….
- They’re going to hate you no matter what. Their minds cannot be changed on this count so why is the President pandering to the very people who don’t believe in any health care overhaul and who hate Obama no matter what he does? This is political madness.
- Any change in the way health care works will result in the cancellation of some plans. Behold, the GOP plan would make some people lose coverage.
The President’s messaging on the ACA has been terrible from day one. He repeated the “if you like your insurance plan then you can keep it” over and over because it was simple and despite the fact that he has ZERO power to force insurance companies to continue offering any specific plan that they might want to discontinue. The problem is that people don’t even know that their plan can be changed in the first place. Americans, despite conservative insistence to the contrary, overwhelmingly view health care as a kind of public service. They think the government actually somehow controls these private companies. It didn’t and it only has the influence of plan standards now.
As of yesterday, his messaging is even worse. Americans are going to be expecting repeal of the ACA on both the Left and the Right. Good job, Mr. President, way to turn your greatest achievement into a monolithic political disaster. Democrats will now have to spend the next three years running from you, politically, and you’ll become more and more isolated. Look for the GOP to beat the President and Democrats to death with this one year delay in 2014 because it looks like a clear admission from the President that he believes he has failed. They’ll say “he delayed it because it doesn’t work” and they’ll be right to. It’s exactly what I would do if I was them.
Stop screwing around and get this transition over with. That’s what the people want whether they know it or not. For God’s sakes, lead and the fickle winds of public opinion be damned.