Obamacare slogs onward

As the dust clears from the initial implosion of HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare slow-motion wrecking ball continues churning unobstructed through the private health insurance market, the medical delivery system and the lives of private citizens.

What matters most to Democrats, however, is the messaging, as three columns posted at Real Clear Politics attest.

According to Politico's Seung Min Kim, panic among "congressional Democrats" has begun to ease, with the supposed fixing of the web site providing a public relations lifeline and a "fading sense of alarm":

For the first time in weeks, congressional Democrats are starting to breathe easier.

They're relieved that the White House managed to upright the troubled HealthCare.gov website...

"I don't think there's any question whether people are feeling much better about the competence of the administration," said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)...

"It looks like the website is getting better, but we're still not sure it's good enough, especially the back end problems and problems with the young people enrolling," Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said. "But it looks like the cure is underway."

Despite the guarded optimism in some quarters, the Politico piece does not sugarcoat the Democrats' dilemma, noting that the House will not offer any legislative "fix" other than repeal, and that the Senate is most likely in a "wait-and-see mode," despite various Obamacare "tweaks" suggested by certain embattled Senate Democrats.

The Week's Paul Brandus observes that the newfound digital cure for the sickly health care web site is anything but a panacea for the administration's political woes:

Anyone who thinks Team Obama is breathing a sigh of relief, who thinks the administration is out of the woods, needs to know this: The administration has quietly canceled a big December ad campaign to encourage Americans to visit the site, out of fear that a new wave of visitors would cause it to crash. Not exactly a sign of confidence...

Obama remains contemptuous of the short-term focus; he is always said to be thinking long-term. He thinks that 10, 20 years from now, long after he has left the scene, universal health insurance will be something that all Americans not only appreciate, but take for granted...

He might be right. But the next election is one year away, not 10 or 20, and the current trend suggests trouble...

If you think Obama has trouble dealing with one GOP-controlled chamber of Congress, just imagine how miserable things will get for him if the Senate goes Republican, too...

Given the President's fixation on his transformative agenda, namely locking down his eponymous healthcare regime, congressional elections and cancelled policies are merely so much noise in the system.

Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, makes the case that "Obamacare is here to stay":

But fixing the Web site after its embarrassing launch means that opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law. And supporters can rule out the worst-case scenario: Obamacare isn't going away...

In the White House briefing room, too, there was a change in tone. The death watch for Obamacare had been suspended and the conversation turned to other possible problems...

"You now say it's working with private-sector velocity," said Fox News's Ed Henry. "Can you reasonably keep up that pace in the days ahead?"

"The answer," Carney said, "is yes."

Milbank contends that the President's flacks are now winning the messaging war, which means the implementation of Obamacare will keep slogging along, dragging the rest of us along with it.


As the dust clears from the initial implosion of HealthCare.gov, the Obamacare slow-motion wrecking ball continues churning unobstructed through the private health insurance market, the medical delivery system and the lives of private citizens.

What matters most to Democrats, however, is the messaging, as three columns posted at Real Clear Politics attest.

According to Politico's Seung Min Kim, panic among "congressional Democrats" has begun to ease, with the supposed fixing of the web site providing a public relations lifeline and a "fading sense of alarm":

For the first time in weeks, congressional Democrats are starting to breathe easier.

They're relieved that the White House managed to upright the troubled HealthCare.gov website...

"I don't think there's any question whether people are feeling much better about the competence of the administration," said Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.)...

"It looks like the website is getting better, but we're still not sure it's good enough, especially the back end problems and problems with the young people enrolling," Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) said. "But it looks like the cure is underway."

Despite the guarded optimism in some quarters, the Politico piece does not sugarcoat the Democrats' dilemma, noting that the House will not offer any legislative "fix" other than repeal, and that the Senate is most likely in a "wait-and-see mode," despite various Obamacare "tweaks" suggested by certain embattled Senate Democrats.

The Week's Paul Brandus observes that the newfound digital cure for the sickly health care web site is anything but a panacea for the administration's political woes:

Anyone who thinks Team Obama is breathing a sigh of relief, who thinks the administration is out of the woods, needs to know this: The administration has quietly canceled a big December ad campaign to encourage Americans to visit the site, out of fear that a new wave of visitors would cause it to crash. Not exactly a sign of confidence...

Obama remains contemptuous of the short-term focus; he is always said to be thinking long-term. He thinks that 10, 20 years from now, long after he has left the scene, universal health insurance will be something that all Americans not only appreciate, but take for granted...

He might be right. But the next election is one year away, not 10 or 20, and the current trend suggests trouble...

If you think Obama has trouble dealing with one GOP-controlled chamber of Congress, just imagine how miserable things will get for him if the Senate goes Republican, too...

Given the President's fixation on his transformative agenda, namely locking down his eponymous healthcare regime, congressional elections and cancelled policies are merely so much noise in the system.

Dana Milbank, writing in the Washington Post, makes the case that "Obamacare is here to stay":

But fixing the Web site after its embarrassing launch means that opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law. And supporters can rule out the worst-case scenario: Obamacare isn't going away...

In the White House briefing room, too, there was a change in tone. The death watch for Obamacare had been suspended and the conversation turned to other possible problems...

"You now say it's working with private-sector velocity," said Fox News's Ed Henry. "Can you reasonably keep up that pace in the days ahead?"

"The answer," Carney said, "is yes."

Milbank contends that the President's flacks are now winning the messaging war, which means the implementation of Obamacare will keep slogging along, dragging the rest of us along with it.


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