Politics

 

Is This Obama's Katrina?

Is This Obama's Katrina?

Ron Brownstein pretty well nails it today:

For decades, Democratic strategists have viewed universal health care as their best opportunity to reverse the doubt among many voters, especially whites, that government programs can tangibly benefit their families. Now the catastrophic rollout of the health law threatens instead to reinforce those doubts. That outcome could threaten Democratic priorities for years.

He points to exit polls from Virginia last week, when 52 percent of white voters said they opposed the law. He then notes that the odds have just gone way up that the 2016 election will be a referendum on the health-care law and on the efficacy of government in general. Well, 2016 is a long way away--I mean, remember: Just three weeks ago, it was the Republicans, post-shutdown, who were in total disarray! But Brownstein might end up being right. Now you know why Bill Clinton said what he said.

The problem is compounded by the fact that whatever fix Congress passes runs the risks of making things substantively worse, because, as I'm sure you know by now, if insurers are permitted to continue to carry customers on plan that don't meet the ACA's standards, that will undercut the whole reform, because healthy people will buy those cheaper plans and the new plans will be left to the sick, and they'll be more expensive as a result.

The Republican plan from Congressman Fred Upton would take matters one step further. It wouldn't merely continue the grandfathering in of sub-ACA plans for people who had to buy insurance themselves and had done so before Oct. 1; it would allow insurers to continue to sell new sub-ACA plans througout 2014. That really is designed to mess up the law. It's not going anywhere in Harry Reid's Senate, but right now it's hard guess what might pass both houses and be acceptable to Obama.

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