“The action today undercuts the purpose of the exchanges, including the District’s DC Health Link, by creating exceptions that make it more difficult for them to operate,” the statement said.He also pointed to a statement issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners that said the Obama order “threatens to undermine the new market, and may lead to higher premiums and market disruptions in 2014 and beyond.”“We concur with that assessment,” White said Thursday.
Before Friday morning, these remarks had already been removed, and by end of day Friday, White was fired. When asked why the department took down the remarks, the spokesmen claimed the department’s position had changed, echoing the words of one the mayor’s deputies, who told White when he was fired that the mayor’s office “wants to go in a different direction.”This might have been just a story of petty attempts to enforce Obamacare orthodoxy if it didn’t illustrate the growing policy-politics divide that will haunt the ACA for the foreseeable future. White’s initial opposition to the “fix” was that it would ultimately undermine the very policy goals that the ACA wants to achieve. But the rationale behind the fix was clearly political: an attempt to re-direct the public’s rage away from Obama and the Democratic party.The White House is in a serious bind: almost any fix that is possible right now will actually wind up hurting the law’s long term prospects. But doing nothing will only feed public anger over the ACA. White’s firing seems to indicate a desire on the part of Obamacare allies to both go in for a short-term “fix” while quieting those who point out the long-term problems with the “fix.” Only by keeping people in the dark about the long-term consequences of the policy change can Obama actually hope to solve the immediate PR problem he faces.Ignoring long-term consequences to push through a short-term policy fix. Now, where have we head that before?