The President Spins as Public Support Tanks
As public support for Obamacare falls to one of the lowest levels since the bill was passed, the president now shows serious signs of denial about the failures surrounding implementation of the law.
In a White House press conference Tuesday, Obama reacted to reports that a growing number of Democrats are growing nervous over the impact of Obamacare on their reelection chances next year.
The president pushed back hard, responding with a long-winded answer stating that 85 to 90 percent of Americans are already experiencing most of the benefits of the law, even if they don’t know it.
“So there are a whole host of benefits that- for the average American out there, for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. Now they don’t have to worry about anything else,” Obama said.
The president ignored concerns that implementation of Obamacare is way behind schedule with serious questions remaining among individuals and employers about the cost and coverage of the law. Obamacare kicks in on January 1, just in time to make it a major issue in the November midterm elections.
The latest Kaiser Health Tracking Poll conducted in April reports that public support for Obamacare is dropping to one of the lowest points in the last two years. The poll said only 35 percent have a favorable view of the law while 40 percent have an unfavorable view, with 24 percent having no opinion.
The poll also reported that 49 percent of those polled said they did not have enough information to fully understand the impact of Obamacare, underlining the administration’s enormous challenge in informing the public about the details of the law.
This has been a constant complaint among Washington lawmakers, including Democrats who helped write the bill. They say they hear repeated frustrations from business people and individuals who can’t make plans to run their business and family budgets without more information about the specifics of the law.
The president said the only remaining challenge is providing coverage for those who don’t have health insurance.
“So all the implementation issues that are coming up are implementation issues related to that small group of people, 10 to 15 percent of Americans- now, it’s still 30 million Americans, but relatively narrow group- who don’t have health insurance right now or are on the individual market and are paying exorbitant amounts for coverage that isn’t that great.” Obama said.
The president completely ignored concerns among Americans who have health insurance but fear loss of coverage by their employer or sharp increases in premiums. He did not address worries that individuals will be unable to keep their doctor or the threat of a looming doctor shortage.
As usual, the president blamed Republicans for failures in implementing Obamacare, pointing to “half of Congress” he said is determined to block the law and not funding it adequately, as well as Republican governors “who know that it’s bad politics” for them to try to implement it effectively.
The president concluded his remarks on Obamacare with a careful disclaimer that critics are always ready to pounce on government programs.
“And the last point I’ll make, even if we do everything perfectly, there’ll still be, you know, glitches and bumps, and there’ll be stories that can be written that says, oh, look, this thing’s, you know, not working the way it’s supposed to, and this happened and that happened, and that’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up,” he said.
The concerns about Obamacare are more than glitches and bumps. We know the government will not do “everything perfectly” in implementing the law. It never does.
The president is in for a rude awakening as Obamacare steams down the track toward full implementation in January. He should heed the warnings of his Democratic colleagues in Congress. Time is running out for Obama and his party.