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NYT: Obamacare Could be Obama's Katrina


Flashback to 2005: the NYT reports on, and seems to endorse, worries among Democrats that Obamacare could become the administration’s Hurricane Katrina, a catastrophe that permanently damages public faith in its competence and trustworthiness. But it does cover the latest defense of Obamacare making the rounds:

[U]nlike Mr. Bush, who faced confrontational but occasionally cooperative Democrats, Mr. Obama is battling a Republican opposition that has refused to open the door to any legislative fixes to the health care law and has blocked him at virtually every turn. A contrite-sounding Mr. Obama repeatedly blamed himself on Thursday for the failed health care rollout, which he acknowledged had thrust difficult burdens on his political allies and hurt Americans’ trust in him.

The blame game is going on in full earnest now. Even as Obama publicly takes his licks over his failed “like it, keep it” promises, he and his supporters are taking every chance they can to steer public anger over the law toward third parties. Obama’s “fix” allows them to say cancellations and rate shocks are insurers’ fault, and they never tire of claiming that without GOP obstruction this would all have worked out much better.

Eventually the left will craft a counterfactual narrative around this claim: from the very beginning the ACA designed to be palatable to the right—no public option, definitely no single-payer, and with provisions lifted right out of a Heritage Foundation plan—and then the GOP worked overtime to sabotage even this compromise bill. Without the GOP’s intransigence we could have had a better law in the first place, and the whole implementation would have gone a lot smoother.

Expect to hear this ad nauseam from those itching for a pivot to a single payer system. We at VM guess that most people beyond the left’s most loyal demographics won’t buy this. One reason they won’t is a warning to both parties. The ACA was never very popular, and it has become less popular over time. Its initial limited popularity combined with the outcry over the cancellations suggests that the public is both desperate for health care reform and very resistant to the disruptions that most any reform will bring. Would-be reformers on both sides will have to grapple with this contradiction in the coming months and years.

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  • Corlyss
  • Corlyss

    A momentary epiphany in the NYT Editorial Board:

    “On one level, it should surprise no one that a politician faced with either seeming like a liar or seeming like a fool would choose the fool. But that still leaves us with the disturbing impression — and not for the first time in this administration — that Mr. Obama sometimes shoots from the hip, that he is still struggling to handle the politics of the presidency after nearly five years in office, and that he is surrounded by people who are too incompetent or too weak to help him.”

    • Jim__L

      I’m sure the NYT would like to suggest a few “competent” or “strong” people that they think would make the Obama administration work perfectly.

      Wouldn’t it be ironic if they put Hillary forward as part of the health-care solution? A lot of Obama’s supporters were still in diapers 20 years ago.

      • Corlyss

        “A lot of Obama’s supporters were still in diapers 20 years ago.”

        A lot of them still haven’t grown up, literally or figuratively.

        More likely the NYT was thinking of Punch. He has the answer to everything.

  • Boritz

    …had thrust difficult burdens on his political allies and hurt Americans’ trust in him. -NYT
    The NYT thinks these repercussions are bad.

  • Bruce

    Keep in mind that with Bush’s failure on Katrina, there was a lot of failure at the state and local level and the press savaged Bush when most of it wasn’t his fault. He did not help himself with “Heckuva job, Brownie.” In the case of the ACA it is destructive legislation and the fact that Obama has been exposed is helpful, although the pain to individuals with “substandard” plans is immense and inexcusable. If the country needs this moment to cause it to pull back from hard left progressivism, then it needed to happen. We generally don’t do things the easy way and re-electing the guy who shoved ACA down our throats is evidence of that. Common sense told you it couldn’t work. People need to see it inflict pain before they figure it out.

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