The Health Care Buck Stops Somewhere Else

The president is dodging accountability when it comes to Obamacare's failures.

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U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius faced a tougher round of questions before the Senate finance committee today. Even her fellow Democrats shared their concerns that the launching of the Affordable Care Act has been disastrous and that the administration is misleading the American people. Liberal Senator Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., stated "I believe there's been a crisis of confidence created in the dysfunctional nature of the website, the canceling of policies and sticker shock from some people.'"

The American people are waking up to the Obamacare nightmare. An estimated 10 million individuals or more who have insurance are losing their current plan and are being forced to pay higher premiums regardless of whether they were satisfied with their policies. The policy cancellations and higher premiums are disproportionately impacting the middle class and small business owners who participate in the individual markets or small group plans.

In the meantime, the White House is passing the buck to the insurance companies, asking them to explain to consumers why their current plans fail to meet the Affordable Care Act requirements. Even Democrat colleagues have placed the blame of these cancellations on the insurance companies. 

[See a collection of political cartoons on Obamacare.]

President Barack Obama is the only one who should take the blame and responsibility for inaccurately stating that an individual can keep his or her health insurance "no matter what." The American people believed him, and now millions are shocked with the realities associated with the new law.   

Jonathan Gruber, a former Obama advisor suggested that the administration wanted to keep it simple so that the American people could understand the law. In other words, let's dumb it down because the truth may be too painful for those happy with their insurance policy. I would like the president to tell the cancer patient who is fighting for her life that she needs to just "shop around" and get a new plan because her old one is "substandard." Having to find a new plan is just one more added stress to these individuals who depend on their current plan to receive the medical help they need.

The president and his advisors were clearly aware that plans would be cancelled and that many would have to pay higher premiums. Democrats also knew. In fact, House Democratic whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., admitted that they knew millions of individuals would lose their current plans. Republicans attempted to inform the American public, but kept getting shut down by the other side. The American people were betrayed and blindsided, and now many are faced with cancellation notifications and higher health insurance costs. 

It would have been so easy if the president would have just told the truth about the ramifications of the law. 

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

President Obama has made a political miscalculation and is rapidly losing his credibility. According to the latest Gallup poll, the president's approval rating has dipped to a low of 39 percent. Despite the president's efforts to re-engage Americans on other issues such as immigration and the economy, the failures of Obamacare will continue to dominate the news and drag down the president, especially if he fails to take accountability for misleading the American people.

Since the botched rollout, the stress continues to escalate for the administration. The dysfunctional website is driving away discouraged individuals who have been unable to enroll. As hundreds of thousands of Americans join Medicaid, the lack of exchange enrollees, especially young and healthy enrollees, could also drive up costs, which the states may need to cover. The administration needs the young healthy adults to offset the higher health care costs of older Americans. So far the average age of the majority of enrollees is over 55, and a large percentage of young people have yet to sign up.  The administration has its work cut out for it even beyond the November 30th deadline of fixing the website.

On the campaign trail, the president made the promise that "you can keep your health insurance no matter what," and he should find a way to fix the problem immediately, as some Senate Democrats are proposing. Taking ownership and fixing the problem will be the first step in regaining the trust of the American people.

  • Read Peter Roff: Obama's New Health Care Lies Are No Better Than His Old Ones
  • Read Leslie Marshall: What Christie, de Blasio and McAuliffe's Wins Say About Future Elections
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