Wonk Wire has the latest enrollment details which all show signs of progress.
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A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds the federal health-care law “is becoming a heavier political burden for President Barack Obama and his party, despite increased confidence in the economy and the public’s own generally upbeat sense of well-being.”
“Disapproval of Mr. Obama’s job performance hit an all-time high in the poll, at 54%, amid the flawed rollout of the health law. Half of those polled now consider the law a bad idea, also a record high.”
Said pollster Fred Yang: “The president is being weighed down by one issue, his health-care law. It’s probably fair to say that as goes health care, so goes the Obama presidency for the next year.”
The Fix: “After weeks filled with nothing but bad news for President Obama, there have been some reasons for optimism in recent days. But even if Obama has moved past the lowest low of his presidency, there is no way around the reality that his image has been badly damaged since he triumphed at the polls last fall.”
Wonk Wire: Views of Obamacare improve slightly.
The White House on Friday criticized as misleading a report claiming that President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius met just once since the signing of the Affordable Care Act more than three years ago, Politico reports.
Said press secretary Jay Carney: “The published report that was written by an advocate is based on a ridiculously false premise. Cabinet secretaries don’t regularly get entered into the White House visitors logs, [though] they come frequently. Kathleen Sebelius comes frequently, and she meets frequently with the president.”
Politico notes that with so much riding on the line with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, “one would assume” President Obama “held weekly, if not daily, one-on-one meetings with his Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to isolate problems, challenge assumptions, apply executive pressure where needed and successfully manage a project of scale.”
“A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) analysis finds that from July 12, 2010, to Nov. 30, 2013, the president’s public schedule records zero one-on-one meetings between Obama and Sebelius. Equally shocking, over the same period, the president’s calendar lists 277 private meetings with his other Cabinet secretaries (excluding full Cabinet meetings).”
“In a significant development, GOP candidates have embraced a concept
that was unthinkable a year ago: fixing President Obama’s landmark law,” The Hill reports.
“Others, meanwhile, have offered replacement healthcare plans.”
“Polling shows a majority of people would rather Congress fix the law than scrap it entirely, which is clearly playing a role in the Republican pivot. Yet, offering to fix a law that is reviled by the GOP base is politically tricky. Some in Republican circles want the law to flop miserably, which would increase the chances of an eventual repeal.”
“The Affordable Care Act, as I said, the bill itself has got very good concepts and yes, I would support it again.”
— Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), quoted by WAFB.
Political polling provided to National Journal shows that “white women” have soured considerably on Obamacare, “especially in the month since its botched rollout. The skepticism runs especially deep among blue-collar women, sometimes known as ‘waitress moms,’ whose deeply pessimistic attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act should riddle Democratic candidates with anxiety.””
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), “one of Obamacare’s architects and staunchest supporters, is also the only top congressional leader to exempt some of his staff from having to buy insurance through the law’s new exchanges,” CNN reports.
“Reid is the exception among the other top congressional leaders. GOP House Speaker John Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell have all directed their staffs to join the exchange.”
Wonk Wire: Latest Obamacare stats are positive.
First Read: “Republicans clearly have the political advantage when it comes to health care. They scored points on the federal website’s woes; they bruised President Obama over those private-market cancellation notices; they’ve highlighted the security concerns; and they’ve played the card that Americans might not be able to keep their doctors. But are they beginning to run out of ammunition?”
President Obama defended the Affordable Care Act at a White House event with a backdrop of 19 people the White House says “benefited from health care reform.”
Byron York: “But Obama never said who those people were, and, unlike other events, the White House did not release their names or biographies. A spokesman later said the White House would not provide the information.”
Los Angeles Times: “Next year’s midterm election — much like the 2010 one — will almost certainly be dominated by debate over Obamacare. And much like the last election, that will not be good for Democrats unless the party can find a compelling response to Republicans’ call for repeal.”
“Democratic officials say they’ve found that message: remind the public why the law was passed three years ago and contrast that with the GOP alternative. Obama previewed the talking point at the White House on Tuesday in an event billed as the launch of the new public relations push.”
Wall Street Journal: “The fight between the political parties to
shape public opinion of the 2010 health-care law is entering a new phase
that looks beyond the problems of the enrollment website, amid signs
that the law’s rocky rollout has damaged Democratic prospects for the
“White House officials, asserting that the HealthCare.gov website is largely fixed, are under mounting pressure from Democrats and close allies to hold senior-level people accountable for the botched rollout of President Obama’s signature domestic achievement and to determine who should be fired,” the New York Times reports.
“Officials declined to offer details about which government employees at the White House or other agencies might be under the microscope during any review of the development of the health care website. But there is a long list of people who have been publicly identified as key players.”
President Obama will launch a coordinated campaign by the White House, congressional Democrats and their outside allies to return attention to why the Affordable Care Act passed in first place, Politico reports.
“After two months of intense coverage of the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, Obama will host a White House event kicking off a three-week drive to refocus the public on the law’s benefits… The White House will take the lead in emphasizing a different benefit each day until the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for Jan. 1 coverage. The daily message will be amplified through press events and social media by Democratic members of Congress, the Democratic National Committee, congressional campaign committees and advocacy organizations, officials said.”
Wonk Wire: On the Obamacare “To Do” List
President Obama will sign up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange, Politico reports.
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports some members of Congress “are about to get their own kind of sticker shock when they head to the new insurance exchanges. A few will get a price cut… a provision in the health law requires lawmakers to get their benefits alongside small-business employees for the first time, and that means lawmakers’ premiums will suddenly be tied to their age.”
First Read: “The Obama administration’s Nov. 30 deadline to have a better-functioning federal website for the ‘vast majority’ of consumers has come and gone, and here’s what we know: The website is significantly better than what it was back in October (of course, that was a very low bar). Yet two months after its initial rollout, it’s still far from a perfect product, especially the information insurance companies are receiving on the backend. Beyond that, however, what you’re likely to see over the next several days are mostly anecdotes and spin. Democrats will point to examples of Americans having success with the website (and there are more and more of those). And Republicans will point to examples of continued problems (and those still exist).”
“But to gauge if the website is truly better, there are two things to watch for in the next two weeks. One, are the insurance companies and government beginning to air their multi-million TV ad campaigns? … Two, are skittish Democratic politicians — especially those from red states — a little less skittish than they were last month? Or more skittish? That will be another tell.”
Wonk Wire: November Obamacare sign ups approach 100,000.
Brian Beutler notes that upon launch of the Obamacare health care exchanges, “but really after January 1, a vote to repeal the law would transform from an abstraction into an attempt to snatch health insurance away from as many as several million people.”
“That’s a bad vote to take… And if Healthcare.gov holds up today and through the end of the year, it’ll be dead.”
“Trying to align lawmakers with the people they represent, Congress three years ago decided that when the new healthcare plan took effect, members would give up their platinum health benefits and enroll in the online marketplaces created for millions of other Americans,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
“While many members of Congress are indeed signing up for health coverage through the District of Columbia exchange — which was designated as the provider for all members — their experiences have been significantly better than those of average consumers in several respects, including more generous benefits packages, VIP customer service from insurers and the same government-subsidized premiums they’ve always enjoyed.”
“It may take until 2017. It will work really well then.”
— White House adviser David Plouffe, quoted by ABC News, on the implementation problems facing Obamacare.