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Leaks and Tweaks Point to Democrats' Discontent with the ACA


Democrats’ irritation with the Affordable Care Act rose this week as politicians and staffers associated with the law tried to distance themselves from the fallout. Leaks from within the Obama administration suggest that groups who helped design and implement the law are eager to place the blame for the implementation on rival factions.

Take for example, a Washington Post report about Obama’s early decision not to appoint an outside specialist to oversee the implementation:

For weeks that spring, a tug of war played out inside the White House, according to five people familiar with the episode. On one side, members of the economic team and Obama health-care adviser Zeke Emanuel lobbied for the president to appoint an outside health reform “czar” with expertise in business, insurance and technology. On the other, the president’s top health aides — who had shepherded the legislation through its tortuous path on Capitol Hill and knew its every detail — argued that they could handle the job.

There’s also a story at CNN about internal debates over how customers would react to new expensive premiums and limited choice. But leaking information to journalists isn’t the only way Democrats are trying to distance themselves from the implementation failures.

On the Hill, Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have proposed the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act, which seeks to force President Obama to live up to the “like it, keep it” promise he made when selling the ACA to the public. The bill would require insurance companies to continue offering their pre-Obamacare plans, effectively undoing the cancellation notices that have been getting so much press. Sen. Baucus, an architect of the law, now argues that congress may need to consider delaying the individual mandate penalties if the website continues to malfunction.

Both of these proposals would deeply undermine the ACA. Forcing people to buy more expensive plans is essential to the law, which seeks for good or for ill to redistribute from the healthy and the young to the sick and the old. And a mandate without a penalty will only increase the likelihood that young people won’t sign up for coverage.

More and more Democrats are breaking ranks and running away from the botched implementation as fast as they can. President Obama may have one more campaign left in him, but the first people he might have to convince are the skeptics in his own administration and party.

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  • Gene

    I’d love to get a group of Democratic Senators and Reps together, and drunk enough to say out loud what they really think about Obama and his administration. There would be a whole lotta bitterness in that room.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    If you can’t be turned down for existing health problems, then why pay for expensive health insurance with huge deductibles until you have an expensive healthcare problem? Also if the 1% fine is being taken only from your tax refund, then adjust your W-4 so that you won’t get a refund. Since it only takes simple changes to avoid complying with Obamacare, Obamacare isn’t going to work at all like the Democrats expect.

    • Andrew Allison

      I suspect that many (enough to guarantee enormous premium increases) will ask themselves the question you pose, elect to wait, and get nailed by an unanticipated event requiring immediate, and costly, attention (a very good, and apparently healthy, friend of mine had a massive cerebral aneurism last Sunday!). Meanwhile, those whom the ACA was supposed to help will, for the same “it won’t happen to me” reason, sign up for the lowest cost plan and get stuck with 40% of their medical expenses. “Obamacare isn’t going to work at all like the Democrats expect.” may be the understatement of the Century!

  • Gerald

    I find it a little difficult to sympathize with the Democratic Party politicians who voted repeatedly for a bill that they didn’t bother to understand, and voted to uphold the regulations that create the insurance policy cancellations when they knew that it would cause dire problems for the participants in the individual insurance market. President Obama clearly lied repeatedly and the Democrats knew he was lying, but voted to continue anyway. They are as complicit as he – so hopefully their constituents will take appropriate action.

  • Pete

    The rats are deserting their sinking ship.

  • avery12

    This law takes more killing than Rasputin.

  • Mark Michael

    PowerLine’s John Hinderaker posted how when the GOP Senators discovered that the March 2010 PP-ACA as signed off on by Obama would have HHS implementation regulations that in effect would dictate the cancelation of a great many existing individual health insurance policies, submitted a proposed bill would correct this. Hinderaker included a link to the Federal Register, dated 6-17-2010 that expounds on these implementation details. The Link:

    It was voted down 60-40 on 9-27-2010 strictly along party lines. All 60 Democratic Senators voted against it. Link to Hinderaker’s 11-1-2013 post:

    Those D Senators who are now giving speeches repeating Obama’s prevarications, or they don’t agree with how it’s being implemented, were directly confronted with that very characteristic of the PP-ACA in the summer of 2010 and unanimously voted to retain it on 9-27-2010. That includes Kay Hagan, (D-NC), Mark Pryor (D_Ark.), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Mark Udall (D-CO) all from “red” or “purple” states. They own it.

  • Boritz

    ***the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act***

    Next will be the Keeping the Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act Act.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    Red state democrats are trying to save their skins by coming out against Obamacare now, when it means nothing. The party understands that they need to do this and will tolerate this criticism in the hope of keeping at least most of these seats.

    Don’t be fooled: This is a core leftist objective. They barely got it through but since they have they won’t back up one inch.

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