High Anxiety: Obama Holds Closed-Door Meetings with Nervous Democrats

Posted: Nov 07, 2013 10:54 AM

Healthcare.gov is broken, numerous state-run exchanges remain busted, enrollments are trickling in at a pathetic rate, millions are losing their current health coverage, tens of millions are experiencing sticker shock, and the HHS Secretary just admitted that Obamacare's "navigators" -- who handle Americans' sensitive health and financial data -- have not been subjected to criminal background checks. What could possibly be making Democrats skittish? Time for a panic pow-wow:

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and other senior administration officials met privately Wednesday with frustrated Senate Democrats facing reelection in 2014 to discuss the botched Obamacare rollout. The two hour meeting comes as the Obama administration and congressional Democrats work to assess the political fallout from the health care overhaul’s troubled implementation. Lawmakers passed on the frustration expressed by their constituents and the White House walked through their steps to repair the program...Obama used the meeting to discuss the administration’s push to fix HealthCare.gov and to help those interested in enrolling in individual plans, a White House official said. He also shared details of the administration’s plan to “ramp up communication and education outreach to consumers who have received or might receive letters about how their individual market plans might be affected,” the official added. The president also told the lawmakers that administration is working to put better privacy safeguards into pace, and asked them for feedback on the law’s impact on their constituents. All senators [in attendance] except for Bennet are up for re-election in 2014; Bennet is the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

They've marched in lockstep with Obama throughout the entire Obamacare ordeal, but now that their political asses are on the line, they're beginning to break ranks. Click through to read some of the participants' self-serving professions of outrage over the sundry failures of a law for which every single one of them is directly responsible. They want the folks back home to know how strongly they feel about how "unacceptable" these results have been. The folks back home will have to decide whether their Senators' parade of votes in favor of this law (while ignoring and dismissing now-vindicated warnings) is ultimately what's truly unacceptable. During her testimony yesterday, Kathleen Sebelius again affirmed that the administration will be ready for its November 30th deadline. Experts doubt it -- as do many Democrats, it would seem. Sebelius also asserted that "delay is not an option." People's lives depend on the new law, said the woman who's presided over this colossal cluster. She obviously has the adverse selection spiral in mind, but other members of her party are more focused on their re-election prospects. Therefore, legislation like this may be too juicy to pass up:

Will Senators Mary Landrieu and Joe Manchin -- who have their own version of this puppy -- take up Rep. Upton's bill and introduce it in the Senate? (Remember, Senate Democrats had a meaningful shot at fixing this in 2010, but followed Harry Reid's orders to kill it). How many House Democrats will abandon Pelosi and vote for Upton's offering? Will Reid allow a vote in the upper chamber -- or does he spare Obama the embarrassment and indignity of vetoing a law named after his most memorable political promise? The possibilities are delightful. So long as they're forcing embarrassing votes, Republicans might want to consider introducing some low-hanging fruit proposals that would shut Obamacare down until all of its data security woes are thoroughly resolved. Or they could float a companion "keep your doctor"-type bill to prime the pump for the public's inevitable teeth-gnashing over looming access shock. I'll leave you with the story of two staunch Obamacare supporters who've gotten royally screwed by their precious law:

The couple — Lee, 60, and JoEllen, 59 — have been paying $550 a month for their health coverage — a plan that offers solid coverage, not one of the skimpy plans Obama has criticized. But recently, Kaiser informed them the plan would be canceled at the end of the year because it did not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The couple would need to find another one. The cost would be around double what they pay now, but the benefits would be worse. “From all of the sob stories I’ve heard and read, ours is the most extreme,” Lee told me in an email last week. I’ve been skeptical about media stories featuring those who claimed they would be worse off because their insurance policies were being canceled on account of the ACA. In many cases, it turns out, the consumers could have found cheaper coverage through the new health insurance marketplaces, or their plans weren’t very good to begin with. Some didn’t know they could qualify for subsidies that would lower their insurance premiums. So I tried to find flaws in what Hammack told me. I couldn’t find any.

That's from the lefty outlet ProPublica. I continue to invite journalists and left-wing groups to feverishly attempt to "debunk" the horror stories from millions of Americans. This LA Times iteration of that Sisyphean task involves a lot of parsing, possibilies, and maybes. What average people see in these desperate, revisionist "fact-checks" is worried Obama sycophants contorting themselves to defend the law that's hurting real people. Obama promised, unequivocally, that people would be able to keep their plans, keep their doctors, and pay less. Trying to argue that certain aspects of the violated promises might not directly be his fault per se, for all sorts of nuanced reasons is a fool's errand. If anything, it'll backfire. But keep it up, guys -- and good luck with that.

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