No doubt Mitt Romney worked hard to make it difficult, or for many people, impossible, to vote for the GOP candidate. Romney’s creepy, but actually perfectly honest, 47% confession put off a majority of voters.
But can anybody honestly deny Mitt Romney’s assessment of Barack Obama’s second term (made yesterday on Meet the Press)? Romney’s criticism was hard, and for many Americans quite incisive in the following statement he made to MTP’s David Gregory:
“I think the key thing that the president is trying to get away from is that he told people they could keep their insurance, and that was not the truth. And whether you like the model of Obamacare or not, the fact that the president sold it on a basis that was not true has undermined the foundation of his second term. I think it's rotting it away.”Is that fair, given the facts?
In reviewing one piece of evidence, a speech given last week in Boston, where Obama tried once again to link Obamacare to Romney’s health care plan for Massachusetts, I was struck by Obama’s overall shiftiness. His eyes were darting around, as if he was looking for enemies, not receptive audience members. Perhaps someone had warned him about something, maybe a threat, ahead of time. Perhaps.
As Obama tried to explain how Obamacare was not the problem with the millions of Americans currently getting cancelation notices on their insurance coverage plans, he explained that it was really the fault of what he called “bad-apple insurers”, who were wrongly removing people from plans they should be guaranteed to keep. EXCEPT, Obama admitted two things:
1. “But ever since the law was passed, if insurers decided to downgrade or cancel these substandard plans, what we said under the law is you've got to replace them with quality, comprehensive coverage.”
In other words, if the insurer changed the plans, even a little, the grandfather protection on the policies was invalidated.
2. “On average, premiums for folks who stayed in their [bad-apple or discount] plans for more than a year shot up about 15 percent a year.”
Here, Obama is acknowledging the fact that the discount policies were typically not kept for that long by customers, who were constantly shopping for better deals. And what that meant, and what the White House knew all along, but did not explain to the American people, UNTIL NOW, is that anyone changing policies, for example intentionally getting a cheaper policy from the same insurer, had no protection from having their policy canceled on account of the increased coverage requirements of Obamacare.
When Obama explains this now, he makes it sound like everybody always knew this was the case. But unless one spent their time reading the fine-print for how the government was making the rules of implementing Obamacare, and instead one was listening to the assurances of Barack Obama, it would have been difficult to know that, for a lot of Americans, the President’s promise of keeping their insurance did not apply to them.
Now, I have pointed out earlier that the White House website still says the following:
“For those Americans who already have health insurance…you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.”And, clearly, that is not true.
Increasingly, as Romney points out, the problem with Barack Obama is that he comes across as a person obsessed with Nixonian levels of control, and correspondent dishonesty, in dealing with the American people. The President clearly does not think Americans can handle the truth. Or, he clearly believes if they heard it, he, or more importantly—the Democrats, who still face the people’s judgments in upcoming elections—could not handle the reaction of voters.
That is most definitely the takeaway from what is generally being called a “devastating” analysis, published yesterday at the Washington Post, of the cowardly, and plainly stupid, manner in which Barack Obama and his team managed, or failed to manage, the Obamacare project.
The decision to hide the project’s defects, and to push ahead with a rollout and implementation of the Affordable Care Act on the original schedule, has led to one embarrassing debacle after another for the President.
The latest round of terrible news involves millions of Americans receiving cancelation notices from their insurers, in direct contradiction of what President Obama had promised Americans would never happen under Obamacare. Some of the FAIL stories are plainly horrible, and Obama is not going to be able to avoid the charge that Obamacare is hurting and even killing Americans.
Obama’s sinking popularity, matching the sinking support for Obamacare, is something his professional supporters are having a very hard time countering.
For example, in the “fair and balanced” segment that MTP ran right after Romney, Gregory interviewed current Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick, a Democrat and of course a staunch supporter of President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
Pressed by Gregory concerning the disastrous rollout of healthcare.gov, and how that has negatively impacted the prospects for success for the entire Obamacare program, Patrick made the following, extraordinary, defense of Obamacare and its horrible website:
“It's been, what, three or four weeks? It took us two years to get our website right in Massachusetts.”And like Obama has been telling us, that was just for one state.
Yeah, that’s exactly what Obama needed—a suggestion by one of his supposed helpers that it could be TWO YEARS! before healthcare.gov is working right. Thanks Deval!
Romney earlier had explained that the Romneycare rollout had been conducted in stages and not all at once, to allow for fixes to be performed on any glitches that might crop up.
The simple fact is that Barack Obama does not have two years to fix the Obamacare website. He has exactly 26 more days. If healthcare.gov is not operating properly (meaning pretty much glitch-less) on December 1st, the calls for pushing back the individual mandate—from Democrats—will be too loud and urgent for the White House to ignore.
And yet, Obama has little choice but to ignore those calls, and the building anger from the American electorate, that now feels misled by the President regarding the reality of Obamacare. To do the right thing, which would be to admit Obamacare is a disaster which needs overturning, or to at least admit the fair thing is to push pack the individual mandate for a year, would risk infuriating the insurance companies, who only signed on to supporting the law IF the government guaranteed it would coerce young, healthy, people into buying policies the vast majority of them did not need.
In other words, without the coercion of the individual mandate, Obamacare will fail.
But with the ineptitude of the Barack Obama style of signature governing (pushing false appearances instead of delivering promised payoffs), Obamacare seems doomed as well.
The President is right—this is about something more than a website.
Regarding too many issues for the Obama second term to survive in anything more than a Dubyaesque rot, the question is not what did the President know and when did he know it. The question is—why the fuck did the American people elect and reelect this guy?
But we know the answer. Because the alternative was even worse. At least that’s how it seemed.
These are the choices failing democracies or falling empires have. How do you like them?