by Wynton Hall 29 Nov 2013, 11:36 AM PDT
Politico writer David Nather says the Obama Administration's announcement that the small business Obamacare system will not be ready for the website's Saturday relaunch dashes all Democratic hopes for declaring the relaunch a victory.
"There's no way the administration could declare victory anyway, since it just suffered the embarrassment of another 'what now?' announcement the day before Thanksgiving—the one-year delay of online enrollment for small businesses in federally run health insurance exchanges," writes Nather. "So there will be no victory celebration, no announcement that could even sound like it."
News that Obamacare's small business enrollment system, known as the SHOP program, will be delayed until after the 2014 midterm elections creates a "victory void" for Democrats scrambling to find political cover for the highly unpopular Obamacare program.
"Democrats on Capitol Hill have their own nightmare scenario, too: The White House gives them nothing to brag about, no evidence that the site is actually better," reports Nather.
Still, Democratic leaders like Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) contend Obamacare will be an electoral asset for Democratic candidates, not a liability, in the 2014 midterm elections.
"I think actually that Democratic candidates will be able to run on Obamacare as an advantage leading into the 2014 elections," says Schultz.
Similarly, Pelosi has said Democrats "stand by the policy—we're proud of it."
For now, however, Democrats are left to decide how best to message Saturday's Obamacare website relaunch in the wake of the Obama Administration's announcement that a core piece of the website—the small business enrollment system—will not be ready for at least another year. Worse still, the Administration now says it will need to delay the launch of the fully functioning Spanish version of the website for a second time.
"The website should have been working for all consumers and small businesses on October 1," said Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH). "The fact that didn't happen is inexcusable."
The President signed Obamacare into law on March 23, 2010.