For Democrats in 2014, the website is not the problem

Reuters

US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to the media on Obamacare following a Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, November 14, 2013.

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  • @marcthiessen Democrats who are obsessing over the failure of the website are focused on the wrong problem

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  • @marcthiessen Americans are not just angry about a broken website; they are angry about a broken promise

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  • @marcthiessen Repairing the website won’t repair that broken bond of trust

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Democrats are praying that this weekend’s relaunch of the Obamacare website will save them from an electoral bloodbath in 2014. Their hopes are misplaced. Here are five numbers that suggest that public anger over Obamacare will only grow as Election Day 2014 approaches:

5.5 million. That is how many people the administration needs to sign up in just 23 days because Obamacare drove them out of their health care plans. That’s some 240,000 sign-ups every single day, just to break even. Getting that many enrolled in a few weeks would be extraordinarily difficult even if the website were working perfectly, which it isn’t. According to the New York Times, the system is still sending insurers inaccurate or incomplete information, and the companies are being “deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment.” As a result, many Americans could find themselves without insurance on Jan. 1. Their anger at those responsible for putting them through this panic and disruption is not likely to subside by November 2014.

50 million. That is how many Americans will be surprised to find their employer-based health plans dropped or substantially changed next year because of Obamacare. Some will see their plans canceled; others will lose their doctors and see premiums or deductibles rise dramatically. If Democrats think the public is mad about 5.5 million cancellations in the individual market today, imagine the outrage when tens of millions lose their plans in October 2014, right before Election Day.

53. That is the percentage of Americans who now say that President Obama is not “honest or trustworthy.” Americans are not just questioning Obama’s competence, they also are questioning his integrity. A majority now believe that Obama knowingly lied when he said, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.” Repairing the Web site won’t repair that broken bond of trust.

12. That is the number of Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2014 who are complicit in Obama’s lie. They are on record (and on YouTube) making the same false promise. Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) pledged, “If you like the insurance that you have, you’ll be able to keep it.” Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.) said Arkansans want to know “are we gonna be able to stick with our plan? The answer is yes.” Sen. Kay Hagan (N.C.) promised, “If you like your insurance and your doctors, you keep them.” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.) swore, “Everyone will have the freedom to keep their health plan if they like it.” Sen. Mark Begich (Alaska) vowed, “Alaskans who have health insurance now, and are happy with it, can keep it.” Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) declared, “I’m not going to support a health-care reform plan that’s going to take away the health care you’ve got right now or a health-care plan that you like.”

The rest made similar pledges. Expect to see those pledges in Republican ads next fall.

7. That is the number of states with vulnerable Democratic-held senate seats that also have Republican governors. Why is this important? Because Obamacare premiums are set to skyrocket next year (because the exchanges are signing up many older, sicker people and not enough of the young, healthy people needed to subsidize the others). No wonder the president moved next year’s Obamacare sign-up date to 11 days after Election Day. The flaw in his plan is that the nation’s governors will know the new rates before Election Day. In blue states, Democratic governors may keep the secret, but in red states, such as Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, New Mexico and South Dakota, Republican governors won’t. So not only will millions of Americans get hit with cancellations next October, many also will learn that they cannot afford new coverage under Obamacare either — right before they go to the polls.

In other words, Democrats who are obsessing over the failure of the Web site are focused on the wrong problem. Americans are not just angry about a broken Web site; they are angry about a broken promise. They are angry about being told they could keep their health plans but finding out that pledge was never meant to be kept. They are angry that just a few weeks before the end of the year, they don’t know if they and their families will be insured on Jan. 1. They are angry about rising premiums, growing deductibles, losing their doctors and being forced into Obamacare plans they don’t want.

They are angry about being lied to.

That is why Democrats need to worry in 2014.

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Marc A.
Thiessen

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