Vulnerable Democrats can hear that clock ticking and they're ready to ramp up criticism of the White House if Healthcare.gov isn't fixed by the end of the month, as promised:
Some Capitol Hill Democrats are preparing to launch broadsides against President Barack Obama if the Affordable Care Act website isn’t fixed by the end of the month. That will come in the form of more aggressive scrutiny in Republican-led oversight hearings, open advocacy for further delay in the enrollment deadline and individual coverage mandate, and more calls for a staff shake-up in the White House. “The president and his team have repeatedly assured us that the system will be working by Dec. 1. That’s when I start looking at what we have to do in our oversight function to hold the administration accountable for making it work.” Rep. Bruce Braley, an Iowa Democrat who is running for an open Senate seat said Thursday, adding that he’s contemplating whether to ask the president to fire members of his staff ... Democratic lawmakers — particularly those on the House side — are preparing to try to put distance between themselves and the president because they’re not confident that the White House has a Plan B for getting the policy right or protecting them in the mid-term elections... "When you think about it, a week after the October shutdown Democrats were experiencing a euphoric high. We thought we had Republicans on the mat. We thought we were going to win back the House and then this rollout fails,” said one House Democrat from a traditionally safe seat based in a major city. “Now, we need to be concerned, all of us, me included, that we aren’t viewed as ineffective and kicked out of our seats.” [Democrats] increasingly perceive the danger that the Senate could flip into GOP hands and that Obama’s final three years in office could be a total loss for their party’s agenda.
The people who brought you Obamacare are very worried about the failures of Obamacare, and are pinning their hopes on the White House's "repeated assurances" that thing will be working smoothly on December 1. That's your shot. Here's your chaser:
Administration officials said Monday that some visitors to ObamaCare's federal enrollment site would experience outages, slow response times or messages to try again later during the month of December. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered the message in the latest attempt to downplay expectations surrounding Nov. 30, the administration's self-imposed deadline for fixing HealthCare.gov. CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said errors that persist past this weekend would be "intermittent" and, in line with a promise made by the White House, would not affect the vast majority of the site's users. But Bataille acknowledged that some people would still experience "periods of suboptimal performance" by the system due to either heavy traffic or technical issues that are still being addressed. "The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will work much better than it did in October," Bataille said.
The pending ass-covering, politically-motivated, "outraged" posturing should be a sight to behold. Elected Democrats' Obamacare anxiety can't be limited to the myriad technological challenges either; the substance of the law is already harming millions of people and raising costs -- to say nothing of the major landmines primed to explode over the next year. Local news stories like this are toxic:
Whitney Johnson, an Arlington 26-year-old with multiple sclerosis, can’t afford to go without health insurance. Her life depends on it. She gave birth to her first child Sept. 2 after undergoing a series of rigorous steroid treatments, surgeries and a plasma exchange that saved her life. She pays $325 a month for an individual insurance plan — a drop in the bucket compared with the cost of her plasma protein replacement therapy, which runs $40,000 a pop. She undergoes treatment every five weeks. But now, with the Affordable Care Act in full swing, Johnson’s insurance is under threat. She recently received a letter that said her insurance plan will be canceled Jan. 1 because it does not comply with the federal healthcare law, also known as Obamacare. The insurance company told her that it was pulling out of Texas. She said she can’t afford to go on her husband’s plan because it would triple the family’s monthly premium. And she has been unable to access the federal health exchange website, which has been hampered by technical problems. “I’m scared to death to stop these treatments,” she said.
OFA is sufficiently concerned about Obamacare's PR tailspin that they're asking their robots to pledge to flak for the law at holiday gatherings. "Healthcare for the holidays" provides Obama fans with talking points, FAQs, and tips for broaching the subject ("integrate the talk into family time") with friends and relatives over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Because nothing will save this law and liven up dinner conversations like a bunch of self-righteous snots lecturing their aunts and uncles about how Obamacare isn't nearly as terrible as statistics, media reports and personal experiences might indicate. Along these same lines, here's MSNBC discussed for a full hour of prime time programming last night:
Devoting our whole show on Wednesday to how to talk about politics, news with conservative family members. Should be fun!— Christopher Hayes (@chrislhayes) November 25, 2013
Indeed. How should one go about attempting to interact with these bizarre, vaguely racist creatures who represent 61 percent of Americans the far-right fringe of our society? My helpful contribution to the conversation:
Hate to break it to you, guys, but your crazy right-wing uncle probably knows more about Obamacare than you do. Enjoy your Tofurkey.— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) November 25, 2013