November 8, 2013

Here are six reasons that Obamacare will only get worse for the Democrats:

  1. There will be more canceled health insurance plans.  Every day, more and more Americans are receiving cancellation notices for plans they liked and wanted to keep.  And every day, they continue to hear administration officials and their Democratic allies insist that the president didn’t lie about people being able to keep their health insurance plans.  Dissatisfaction with Obamacare grows exponentially as people witness family members and colleagues being victimized by the “big lie.”
  2. If you like your doctor, you can’t keep your doctor.  Soon the story will break through that a lot of Americans will be losing access to their doctors and will be forced to pick one approved by Obamacare.  Health-care plans are instituting very restrictive provider networks to try to keep down costs in the face of astronomically rising premiums.  In New Hampshire, for instance, only 16 of the state’s 26 hospitals will be in the network of exchange plans approved by Obamacare.  The reaction of voters losing, in some cases, the person who has been their doctor for years could be worse for Democrats than what we are currently seeing in the involuntary loss of insurance plans.
  3. Sticker shock.  Prices for health-care plans are not coming down for many voters.  Once the Web site starts working and Americans can “shop around” for their new health insurance plans as the president instructed they should do, they are going to experience sticker shock.  Premiums and deductibles will be going up for millions of hardworking Americans who can’t afford these increases – especially for coverage they don’t need or want.
  4. Obamacare ads.  Throughout the 2014 campaign, Republicans will use footage of Democrats repeating the “big lie” in ads targeting Democrats.  The search is on for news clips, town-hall meeting videos, and other instances where Democrats have committed on the record and on video that “if you like your health plan, you can keep it.”
  5. Navigators.  If you liked ACORN, you’ll love the Obamacare Navigators.  I’m sure there will be good, sincere people who really want to help people navigate the Obamacare maze.  But there will be enough bad apples employed as navigators to supply plenty of scary anecdotes and weird encounters that will result in a steady ridicule of the overall program.  And there will no doubt be activists with hidden cameras ready to capture a few creepy and outrageous encounters that will grab everybody’s attention and make voters even more skeptical of Obamacare.
  6. Security breaches.  Security breaches will increase.  There have already been so many Web site problems and so many unanswered questions about Web site security that it’s surprising administration officials are still claiming they are “confident” in the system.  A big security breach is inevitable.  It’s just a matter of time.  Even just the few horror stories we have heard so far prove what we all know: The Web site will not protect everybody’s sensitive, personal health care and financial data.  Period.  You know it and I know it.
The Healthcare.gov website is displayed on laptop computers arranged for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013. The failure of Obamacare's website to process millions of applications drew fire from contractors who said more time was needed for final testing and from lawmakers who traded criticism over political motivations. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
The Healthcare.gov Web site (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

With Democrats now stuck in a downward spiral, lying about the Obamacare lies, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) offered Team Obama a way out at Wednesday’s Senate Finance Committee hearing.  He asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, “Why not shut it [the Obamacare Web site] down and do it right?”  But inexplicably, rather than trying to reboot, the White House continues to stare straight at the camera and stand in front of audiences everywhere and tell one whopper after another, even though everyone knows officials aren’t telling the truth. This is bewildering, insulting and corrosive, all at the same time.  And everyone gets that, except for a few isolated souls in the West Wing.

On Wednesday, the president held a meeting with the 15 Democratic senators who are facing reelection, trying to get them to quit whining and get on board with the deceit.  A lot of Democrats wish the White House would come clean, do a mea culpa and ask for forgiveness and patience – instead of issuing half-apologies like President Obama did on Thursday. Then perhaps the president could at least start approaching the problems from an honest place.

The White House will tighten its messaging, and it will fix the Web site, but that won’t change the underlying fact that this bill will negatively affect a huge portion of Americans, and superficial fixes aren’t the answer.  Half-apologies and a refusal to hold anyone accountable are causing only more distress within the Democratic Party.  A lot of Democrats are beginning to think a little panic is in order.  The worst is yet to come.

 

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Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.