Obama’s sorry story
The President struggles to salvage his health reform law, and his credibility
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Friday, November 15, 2013, 4:10 AM
Where the buck stops.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so on Thursday one desperate President, Barack Obama, attempted to sell the idea that he had found a way to keep his Obamacare pledge: “If you like your insurance plan, you can keep it.”
This exuberantly delivered and oft-repeated sales pitch for the program that has dominated his presidency “ended up not being accurate,” as Obama mincingly put it.
He had no choice — not when health insurers complying with his regulations have canceled policies for millions of Americans.
Not when those newly uninsured cannot buy coverage using Obama’s botched website. Not when congressional Democrats are panicking at the thought of losing their jobs. Not when presidential credibility is at low ebb. And not when the very workability of his gargantuan health-care reform is in question.
Obama said that by regulatory fiat, he would allow insurance companies to extend the kinds of policies they have been canceling. Since many companies have little appetite for doing so after shifting business models per Obama’s diktat, there’s no telling whether the President will, in fact, redeem his vow.
The policies at issue covered those who purchased them as individuals, as opposed to getting coverage under a group policy in the workplace. The President found them to be substandard. His pitch is that these same people will be able to get better coverage at lower prices through new exchanges. Whether he’s right is anybody’s guess.
Edie Sundby of California is one who says Obama is wrong. She is losing a plan that has enabled her to survive stage-four gall bladder cancer — and says she cannot find a replacement at any price that covers her current expert doctors. She sees the law as putting her life in jeopardy.
More broadly: Will uninsured Americans, young and old, buy policies in large enough numbers to make Obamacare sustainable?
Obama insists that he has the goods to make it work and will be proven prescient in time. If so, patience will be required. On Wednesday, the administration revealed that only 106,000 people nationwide signed up for private health plans through Obamacare in its first month — a piddling fraction of the 47 million who lack insurance.
A mere 27,000 of those enrolled through the feds’ notorious HealthCare.gov site — less than 1,000 for each of the 34 states it serves. Obama says that dismal showing will be history after all the mega-glitches are fixed and people figure out the complexities of health policies. Just you wait and see, they’ll rush to buy then, Obama insists.
But, of course, he must.