We're going to get to the president's announcement this morning, but first let's walk through what has happened over the last 24 hours.
Yesterday the administration finally released its figures on the number of Americans who have enrolled or “selected” Obamacare plans, and the numbers can only be described as an epic failure.
Even though the numbers (106,000) were higher than the projected estimates released earlier in the week (50,000) they still reflect a serious problem for Obamacare and Democrats in Washington.
The real number to focus on is the 26,000 Americans who have selected coverage through the federal healthcare.gov exchange. That number, again, includes people who have purchased plans along with those who have merely “selected” plans but have yet to pay. That number is disastrously lower than the administration's original estimate of 500,000, which they said would be enrolled by the end of October.
This didn't stop the White House from attempting to spin the numbers, tweeting out yesterday, “Thanks to #Obamacare, more than 500,000 Americans have already signed up for health coverage.” This is incredibly misleading and relying on the ignorance of the American people. This figure is not related to Obamacare enrollees but includes those who are “determined eligible” for Medicaid. It has nothing to do with Obamacare exchanges and the original 500,000 projected in the administration's memo. Nancy Pelosi, by the way, made a similarly ridiculous claim. Who are these people kidding?
But it gets even worse. Not only did the administration miss its target by a mile – less than 2% of their target has been met! – but compare the 26,000 to the five million Americans who have lost their current coverage. This is a big, big problem and I'm not sure how it is going to get much better (even with the president's “fix”): the website still isn't working, I'm unsure how convincing people to sign up will be easier now with all the turmoil surrounding the law, and the on-coming train wreck in the distance is when employer-based coverage takes a hit next year.
The polling was quickly snowballing out of the Democrats' favor, and this has caused panic in Washington.
The latest Gallup polling found that 55% of Americans disapprove of Obamacare and that number has been growing. Remember when Nancy Pelosi said that we had to pass the law to find out what's in it? Well we're finding out what's in it and people detest it even more! That's not a good sign for Democrats.
Other polling that doesn't bode well is that half of voters believe Obama “knowingly lied” when he repeatedly told Americans they could keep their plans under Obamacare, according to the latest Fox News poll. People believe the president is a liar. But guess what, the president wasn't the only one who told the American public this lie. Many Democrats parroted this falsehood throughout the country to their constituents.
Polling also shows that Republicans have gained ground with Americans in the wake of the disastrous Obamacare rollout. Quinnipiac polling shows that Republicans have erased a nine-point deficit among Americans willing to vote for Democrats over Republicans. People are just as willing to vote for Republicans now as they are Democrats in generic congressional balloting questions. Also a new Fox News poll found the following: “Republicans have a slim three-point advantage when Americans are asked about their vote preference for Congress in the latest Fox News poll. That’s an 11 percentage-point shift from last month when Democrats had an 8-point edge. The poll finds 'if the Congressional election were held today,' 43 percent of voters would back the Republican in their district and 40 percent the Democratic candidate.”
All of this led to an emergency meeting today between the Senate Democratic caucus and senior White Officials. This comes after Harry Reid received a surprise phone call from Barack Obama related to Obamacare. Last night a White House deputy senior adviser had a closed-door meeting with House Democrats, and Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times described that session as “extremely heated.” Needless to say, Democrats are scrambling to save their credibility and their jobs.
All of that leads to the president addressing the nation this morning. Things had gotten so bad in America (and for Democrat politicians) that the president was finally forced to make a change. The same liberals who were emphatically arguing just weeks ago that Obamacare is the “law of the land” are the same ones who ran to the administration and begged for a fix once it became a political liability.
So today Obama announced a temporary administrative fix for those who are losing their current insurance. Plans that would otherwise be canceled because of Obamacare will be allowed to continue being offered into 2014. The question then becomes: What happens after 2014 which, by the way, is conveniently an election year? So the problem isn't really solved at all, it merely delays the pain and saves the Democrats who are vulnerable for the mid-term election. It also then makes the insurance companies and/or state insurance commissioners look bad if they still chose to cancel plans as they look at the big picture and see that these plans will not be viable in just a year's time.
Here we have another example of the president using his executive authority to make an “administration fix.” We've seen him pick and chose, as president, which parts of Obamacare to enforce or delay so why should now be any different? But the question we have to ask ourselves is this: is Obamacare even fixable? This still doesn't change the fact that people will eventually lose coverage, not to mention address the issue of how the insurance companies are supposed to handle this other than providing letters of coverage offered under Obamacare.
This rollout has already happened and it's hard to believe how you can undo it now. This is why conservatives like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were so emphatic about delaying Obamacare from rolling out on October 1st. But here we are, six weeks later, and our worst fears have become reality.
So now it turns out that conservative warnings were not red-herrings. They were not for the purposes of simply “hating Obama” or scare-mongering, as many liberals suggested. Obamacare, as it was passed, was never going to work, yet they forced it on Americans nonetheless. Now Americans are stuck with a broken, expensive boondoggle on their hands and Democrats in Washington are hyperventilating about their political futures.