MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell told a panel on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that the numerous delays in implementing Obamacare have undermined the President’s ability to criticize Republican efforts to repeal rather than fix the law:
Gregory: What are the implications of the President deciding unilaterally how and when to implement aspects of Obamacare? If a Republican president were being this selective about the law there would be an outcry on the part of those who were supporters of Obamacare.
Mitchell: I think that is one thing that undermines his case against the Republicans in Congress. Stop messing around with the law. What he has said is, fix the problems, and they did these endless, useless votes to try to eliminate the law — which they knew they weren’t going to win, that was all symbolic. But for him to now be unilaterally saying, ‘Well, we’re not going to implement this and that,’ I think it does undermine his case.
He issued a statement today saying this is the fourth anniversary and costs have come down. Some of those costs would have come down in any case because of the continuing slow recovery.
Both Gregory and Mitchell are right in this case. While the media have been reporting on the delays and waivers the administration has granted under Obamacare, there has been very little outrage directed against Obama, because he is a Democrat. It is obviously true, as Gregory acknowledged, that a Republican president would have been pilloried in the press had he done the same thing.
As for undermining his case, Obama hasn’t done himself any favors with the litany of waivers and implementation delays. They have exposed Obamacare as a law that should never have been enacted, and may never work the way that he and liberal Democrats apparently envisioned it would.
But that hasn’t stopped the White House from touting the law and its supposed benefits, which so far have proved to be largely illusory:
Statement by the President on the Fourth Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act
Since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down, to its slowest rate in fifty years – two of the most promising developments for our middle class and our fiscal future in a long time.
More Americans with insurance have gained new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception, the eight million seniors who’ve saved thousands of dollars on their prescription drugs, and the untold number of families who won’t be driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs, because this law prevents insurers from placing dollar limits on the care you can receive.
More Americans without insurance have gained coverage. Over the past four years, over three million young Americans have been able to stay on their family plans. And over the past five and a half months alone, more than five million Americans have signed up to buy private health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov – plans that can no longer discriminate against preexisting conditions or charge you more just because you’re a woman or a cancer survivor – and millions more have enrolled in Medicaid.
It is these numbers, and the stories behind each one of them, that will ultimately determine the fate of this law. It is the measurable outcomes – in savings for families and businesses, healthier kids with better performance in schools, seniors with more money to spend because they’re paying less for their medicine, and young entrepreneurs who’ll have the freedom to try new jobs or chase that new idea – that will ultimately offer more security and peace of mind to more Americans who work hard to get ahead.
Last month, after her first wellness visit under her new insurance plan, a woman from Colorado shared with me what that peace of mind meant to her. “After using my new insurance for the first time, you probably heard my sigh of relief from the White House,” she wrote. “I felt like a human being again. I felt that I had value.”
This is what’s at stake any time anyone, out of some outdated obsession, pledges to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act. And that’s why my administration will spend the fifth year of this law and beyond working to implement and improve on it.
If you’re an American who wants to get covered – or if you know someone who should – it’s now last call for 2014. March 31st is the deadline to get covered this year. So check out HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 to see what new choices are available to you, and get covered today.
Apparently even that deadline isn’t set in stone. On Friday, the White House press secretary told reporters that the administration may extend the deadline for those who started, but didn’t complete, their enrollment by March 31. That is nothing but a poor attempt to juice the numbers, which are expected to fall short of their goal by one million.
Rather than admit that Obamacare is a hot mess, the White House is doubling down. That will likely prove very damaging to the Democrats, come November.