Charlie Cook: “What makes these problems [health care rollout and spying on foreign leaders] more troublesome than some other controversies is that they go to the question of Obama's competence, rather than to differences of policy or ideology. … Doubts about competence inflict damage, particularly if they are followed by other incidents that reinforce those doubts and by a vigilant opposition party flagging these miscues, as Republicans can be counted on to do here. Doubts about competence eat at enthusiasm among your base and alienate the moderates and independents who are really the ones determining whether a president has strong job-approval ratings (and note that high ratings translate into clout on Capitol Hill and, to a certain extent, around the world).” And he notes that “Obama's troubles take some of the pressure off the GOP” after “the Republican Party's self-inflicted wounds caused by its handling of the government shutdown and the near-default on the national debt.”
NBC’s Frank Thorp: “Only six people were able to enroll for health insurance through the Obamacare website on the first day, according to documents released Thursday by Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The documents also show that by the end of the day Oct. 2, only 248 enrollments had been completed through healthcare.gov.”
USA Today and the L.A. Times pick up on that as well.
Some important context: No one ever assumed there would be many who would purchase health insurance on the first two days of enrollment, especially since the insurance doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1. It was always assumed that most of the applications and purchases would come in December.
New York Times: "Already under fierce attack from Republicans over the new health care law, President Obama now faces broad and mounting Democratic concerns that the troubled start of the insurance program will cut into the political benefit the party received from the government shutdown and cost Democratic candidates in next year’s midterm elections."
Politico: "Team Obamacare is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars of essentially frozen assets — yet another consequence of the failed launch of healthcare.gov. There’s no point in an ad blitz directing people to sign up on a website that doesn’t work. And while advocacy groups say they had always planned to spend more money on the back end to boost enrollment in lagging states at the end of this year and early next year, they didn’t count on the opening month fizzle."
Chris Frates reports that “Virginia, Kentucky and Idaho have told insurance companies that they must scrap insurance plans that don't meet the minimum coverage requirements laid out in the Affordable Care Act. Some states allow insurers to amend their current plans to include the new benefits, such as maternity care and prescription drug coverage, required under Obamacare. But these three states have determined that with so many changes required under Obamacare, it's easier to start over than to try to bring existing plans into compliance.” Insurance executives are saying the White House pressured them to keep quiet. And: “Senate Democrats voted unanimously three years ago to support the Obamacare rule that is largely responsible for some of the health insurance cancellation letters that are going out. In September 2010, Senate Republicans brought a resolution to the floor to block implementation of the grandfather rule, warning that it would result in canceled policies and violate President Barack Obama’s promise that people could keep their insurance if they liked it.”
First published November 1 2013, 6:08 AM