If selling ObamaCare is indeed President Obama’s “last campaign” with all kinds of “legacy-defining” consequences, it is off to one rocky start. “Anxiety” runs through his ranks. Key support is “eroding.” There’s “trouble in the states.” The whole thing is a “train wreck” in the making. Let’s review the lowlights:
- Divided base. The White House has been telling congressional Democrats “that it helps no one to run from legislation the party already owns,” Kim Strassel writes in today’s Wall Street Journal, but that’s exactly what many of them are doing. “Recently elected Senate Democrats have enthusiastically joined efforts to kill portions of the law,” she notes, while this week’s bipartisan House vote to protect all Americans from ObamaCare mandates was “a psychological break, one that lays the potential groundwork for a bipartisan coalition to defund or repeal the law, if things continue to deteriorate.” This, she writes, is “what the White House truly fears.” Indeed, as the same paper notes in an editorial, “more may defect when their constituents get a load of ObamaCare in practice.”
- Money problems. The president argued yesterday that his health care law will save people money, but as McClatchy reports this morning, experts “predict that premiums on individual plans will increase in most states” on account of the new law. One example they cite is Speaker Boehner’s home state of Ohio, where officials say “the average premium proposal for individual coverage next year is up 88 percent from this year’s average price…” In another example of rate shock, The Indianapolis Star has new data showing that insurance rates in the Hoosier State “will increase 72 percent for those with individual plans” and “the spike in costs is due primarily to new mandates” in the law.
- Low turnout. The president is considered a master at building coalitions, but as Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post noted yesterday, “the health-care law isn’t all that popular. And that’s not changing.” As evidence, he points to data showing that “those viewing the law unfavorably have … always outpaced those who see it in a favorable light.” “It’s readily apparent,” he says, “that views about the law have cemented in place.” That conclusion has to be a real sucker punch for the White House, which has argued time and again Americans would like the law once it took effect.
- Muddled messaging. “This summer was supposed to be a time to reintroduce the public” to ObamaCare, NPR reports, but the administration “has seemed to be all over the place when it comes to its messaging about the health law.” Case in point, they say, is that while the president is focusing on Clintonesque bite-size parts of the law, “Republicans have been talking in much more expansive terms” about the dangers a top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington-knows-best approach poses to middle-class families. So “some are starting to worry that the White House is getting dangerously off-message.”
- Misleading advertising. Messaging gets even more muddled when it’s misleading. “Another year, another round of exaggeration” is how the Associated Press described the president’s attempt yesterday to tout his health care law, tagging him for “glossing over complex obstacles” and failing to note that most of the benefits he described are not going straight to American workers. They called it “a splashy announcement about rebates that incorporates misleading advertising.” In reality, as CNN notes, employers may have gotten a break from ObamaCare’s mandates, “but workers at these companies still have to get coverage or pay a penalty,” which means “about a million people scrambling to get covered.” That, of course, is not fair.
- Poor organization. New warnings that state healthcare exchanges may be delayed are “raising further doubts about the implementation” of ObamaCare, not to mention the credibility of administration officials, who have reportedly “known for months” implementation is not on track and are only coming forward about hiccups like this now. In addition, “privacy fears loom” as the government seeks to create “an unprecedented trove of income, citizenship and personal information about millions of Americans” that “will power federal decisions about who qualifies for” which ObamaCare programs. As one lawmaker said, “It’s information on 300 million Americans, all compiled in one place – what could go wrong?”
Here’s something that won’t steer you wrong: tomorrow, at Speaker Boehner’s request, Reps. Tim Griffin (R-AR) and Todd Young (R-IN) – sponsors of this week’s House-passed bills protecting all Americans from ObamaCare mandates – will deliver the Weekly Republican Address. They’ll talk about the need for fairness, the importance of throwing the brakes on the president’s health care law, and the mission to expand opportunity for everyone. It’s the kind of campaign Americans can afford and get behind.