Dem Senators look for someone to blame for Obamacare

posted at 6:41 pm on February 20, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

James Taranto found news of a hearing this week that I missed, in which Democratic lawmakers grilled Gary Cohen, head of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight about Obamacare’s mounting problems. It’s like a David Brooks column about Obama, but in hearing form. Behold your moral and intellectual betters discover all the exact same things you’ve known for four years:

“Baucus questioned how well the online health insurance marketplaces would interact with what he called ‘archaic’ computer systems at Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service,” Kaiser reports.

My, that is a good question.

From the Hill‘s write-up:

Cohen also took hits from Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), who criticized the administration for delaying implementation of the Basic Health Program — an option for states to provide cost-efficient health coverage outside of Medicaid and the law’s new insurance exchanges.

HHS has said it will not have the Basic Health Program ready until 2015 — a year behind schedule. State officials have balked, and Cantwell echoed their criticisms Thursday during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the status of the implementation effort.

“We’re very concerned about the approach by the agency in trying to thwart this effort,” she said. “Are you artificially raising the cost to all taxpayers by trying to lure them onto the exchange?”

Cantwell warned that many members of the Finance Committee are familiar with state-based cost-control efforts and would not look kindly on HHS subverting them. She said the department has sidelined the Basic Health Plan in order to focus on the exchanges — which will provide subsidies from the federal government.

“What I’m very concerned about is the agency seems to think the technology of the exchange is the holy grail, and you’re trying to lure states” into the exchanges, she said.

Cohen said the Basic Health Plan has simply had to take a backseat to other priorities.
“I don’t think we’re trying to lure people into the exchange,” he said.

First of all, the agency could be forgiven for thinking “the technology of the exchange is the holy grail” and “trying to lure states” into exchanges since that’s nearly all the president, and the press has talked about in explaining the health care law. There are a couple reasons for that. It sounds like a relatively simple idea that people can relate to— a Travelocity for health care! No one mentions the challenges of making that “Travelocity” mechanism work with, yes, the archaic systems of the federal government, or aligning it with all state regulations and processes, or training state and federal employees to run exchanges and explain them to consumers, or that all of this has to be done before October. Exchanges, recently unsuccessfully rebranded as “marketplaces,” sound unobjectionable and have not yet had the chance to fail, as they don’t yet exist. As such, they’ve become a go-to selling point for the law. It’s only now that we’re creeping up on exchange deadlines, and the possibility of failure looms larger that the same people who’ve been pitching them are backing away from them.

Second, get used to the delay of certain parts of the health care bill. Attempting to remake 1/6 of the economy is not an easy task, and if it seemed to you in 2009 that the federal government, renowned for its efficiency, might be biting off more than it could chew, congratulations on your early demonstration of common sense. Unfortunately, it probably won’t buy you health insurance. Now Democratic senators are noticing the same thing, and have already voted to completely abandon parts of the health care bill its critics told them were unworkable before the law passed— the 1099 reporting requirement, the CLASS Act, and the medical device tax (repeal still in the works, but backed by none other than Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-emonstrably Not Native American.))

Back to the hearing:

“Wyden pressed Cohen to help find ways to resolve a glitch in the law which may result in the denial of federal assistance to millions of Americans of modest means who could be priced out of family health coverage at work,” according to Kaiser. At issue is an IRS ruling limiting federal subsidies for such plans. Said Wyden: “We’ve got millions of people–working-class, middle-class people–who are going to be pushed into a regulatory health coverage no man’s land.” So much for President Obama’s promise that if you like your plan, you can keep it.

Again, you entrusted the building of a massive Jenga tower of subsidies and regulations to the legislative equivalent of a keg party and you’re surprised it’s not coming together perfectly.

And, finally, Sen. Ben Nelson strongly objects to the elimination of one of Obamacare’s programs, as part of the 2012 tax deal. He voted for the tax deal:

If we’re going to hold people accountable, how about starting with Bill Nelson, who was among the 89 senators voting “yes” on the tax deal? Maybe that’s not entirely fair, since Nelson might have been unaware of that provision, and the expiration, less than two hours earlier, of the Bush tax cuts put genuine pressure on lawmakers to act quickly. Still, it’s odd for a member of Congress to be faulting the administration for a position it took in negotiating with Congress, rather than faulting himself and his colleagues for enacting a law whose provisions he doesn’t like.

Hey, they learned from the best.

Stay tuned. By the time we reach Jan. 1, 2014, those of us who didn’t get to keep our plan if we liked it can rely on Rep. Alan Grayson’s plan for health care: Don’t Get Sick.


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If only there were a single name associated with it.

rogerb on February 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Here you can borrow my mirror.

gophergirl on February 20, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Dem Senators look for someone to blame for Obamacare

Of course they are, anyone except those who are actually responsible. Time for the Democrats to have a come to Jesus moment, which includes 25 feet of premium Stout Hemp Rope, a number of Streetlamps, pissed off Taxpayers and a bit of on the spot assemble required.

SWalker on February 20, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Reading is fundamental.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

I bet the death panels will be super efficient as well…

d1carter on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Passing bills to find out what’s in them has consequences?

antipc on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Nowhere to run to, baby
Nowhere to hide
Got nowhere to run to, baby
Nowhere to hide

It’s not love
I’m running from
It’s the heartaches
That I know will come

- Dem Senators

Resist We Much on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Reading is fundamental.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 6:50 PM

You have to pass the Bill to find out what is in it… Remember…

SWalker on February 20, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Dem Senators look for someone to blame for Obamacare

fellers….

Open the bathroom door….step inside….see the shiny thing over sink???? Well HEY!!!! there you go.

ted c on February 20, 2013 at 6:52 PM

It always stuns me that Lefties can’t understand cause and effect.

BetseyRoss on February 20, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Better buy some Esurance while it’s cheap

drivingtheview on February 20, 2013 at 6:54 PM

You would think the name ObamaCare would give even those morons a big clue.

VorDaj on February 20, 2013 at 6:58 PM

HHS has said it will not have the Basic Health Program ready until 2015

In other words it wont be ready until 2020.

tommer74 on February 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

If only there were a single name associated with it.

rogerb on February 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Yeah, that’s a tough one rogerb, maybe the trolls will have an idea?

Bmore on February 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

If only there were a single name associated with it.

rogerb on February 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

It’s a very ambiguous name. It starts with a letter of the alphabet and is followed by some other letters of the alphabet which make it all but indistinguishable from millions of other words.

VorDaj on February 20, 2013 at 7:01 PM

As I have said many times, it’s always the messaging when democrats get blamed for something or lose an election. With the help of the media this strategy works pretty well. Republicans just cave and move to the left.

Wigglesworth on February 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

It always stuns me that Lefties can’t understand cause and effect.

BetseyRoss on February 20, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Oh! They understand the consequences perfectly. They just think they are so super-smart they can destroy the current system in order to create the one they’ve always dreamed of. And it always bears a strong resemblence the very worst aspect of the old Soviet Union. Complete with the elites getting better treatment than us proles.

Happy Nomad on February 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

If only there were a single name associated with it.

rogerb on February 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Yeah, that’s a tough one rogerb, maybe the trolls will have an idea?

Bmore on February 20, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Somehow I just know that neither Nancy (Botox) Pelosi nor Harry (Da Mob) Reid will get blamed for Obamacare.

SWalker on February 20, 2013 at 7:02 PM

You stupid moonbat pols will finally get it when the public is so fed up with ObummerCare that they throw you out of office. That’s about the only thing that will get your attention. And that will happen quickly, because every type of insurance that the government has ever controlled has turned into a bankrupt, inefficient disaster. Was this going to be any different?

Told you so. Have fun being returned to the private sector.

Philly on February 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Voters. End of story.

Limerick on February 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

You stupid moonbat pols will finally get it when the public is so fed up with ObummerCare that they throw you out of office. That’s about the only thing that will get your attention. And that will happen quickly, because every type of insurance that the government has ever controlled has turned into a bankrupt, inefficient disaster. Was this going to be any different?

Told you so. Have fun being returned to the private sector.

Philly on February 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

They do not deserve to return to the private sector, what they deserve is either to end up dangling from a Streetlamp or spending the rest of their lives turning big rocks into small rocks.

SWalker on February 20, 2013 at 7:05 PM

Having to pay for something or to be taxed for something you do not receive might even become a concern to low information voters. “Damn you George Bush.”

Windsweeping on February 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Slightly OT but important: Rick Scott changes his mind on Obamacare

Disappointing

22044 on February 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Low Information Voters. End of story.

Limerick on February 20, 2013 at 7:04 PM

FIFY.

Galt2009 on February 20, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Can we PLEASE NOT NOMINATE ANYONE in 2016 related to this boondoogle in 2016, so we can use this to our advantage?

melle1228 on February 20, 2013 at 7:10 PM

Slightly OT but important: Rick Scott changes his mind on Obamacare

Disappointing

22044 on February 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

SIGH

gophergirl on February 20, 2013 at 7:11 PM

John Roberts comes to mind.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Damn republicans stuck us with the sequester, and now this Obamacare thing. When will they stop?

tdarrington on February 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Now Democratic senators are noticing the same thing, and have already voted to completely abandon parts of the health care bill its critics told them were unworkable before the law passed

But..but…but…they’re LIBERALS! LIBERALS know EVERYTHING! Just ask them!

GarandFan on February 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM

How is the media can play this when it all fails to come together in ’14? Maybe by then ObamaCare will be the least of our worries…

HiJack on February 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM

Told you so. Have fun being returned to the private sector.

Philly on February 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Yeah it will be tough….they will return to the private sector with with a sweet pension equal to 80% of their salary and lifetime access to gold plated healthcare for themselves and family paid for by you and I.

Ditkaca on February 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM

John Roberts comes to mind.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

You just ruined…everything.

HiJack on February 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

John Roberts comes to mind.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

How dare that John Roberts tell the country “You voted for the a$$holes who passed this abomination, now you can pay the consequences of those votes”…

SWalker on February 20, 2013 at 7:17 PM

How about every Dem in Congress with Pelosi and Reid as Leaders of the Pack.

INC on February 20, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Dems: look in the mirrow… its YOUR fault…

Khun Joe on February 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Damn republicans stuck us with the sequester, and now this Obamacare thing. When will they stop?

tdarrington on February 20, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Sad thing is, there are some Low info butterbrains that would believe that, just before flipping the channel over to TMZ..

Galt2009 on February 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM

You just ruined…everything.

HiJack on February 20, 2013 at 7:16 PM

Then we’re even.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 7:28 PM

This still is the best so far:

If only there were a single name associated with it.

rogerb on February 20, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Galt2009 on February 20, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Pssst….don’t forget…#BLAMEPALIN.

Robert_Paulson on February 20, 2013 at 7:31 PM

It’s a good thing that this bill had strong bipartisan support. Otherwise it would all be on Obama and the Democrats. oh wait…

This monstrosity will go into a death spiral by June 2014.

can_con on February 20, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Slightly OT but important: Rick Scott changes his mind on Obamacare
Disappointing
22044 on February 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

SIGH
gophergirl on February 20, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Guess he found out that someone has some pictures he’d rather were not in the Washington Compost…

affenhauer on February 20, 2013 at 7:34 PM

And, finally, Sen. Ben Nelson strongly objects to the elimination of one of Obamacare’s programs, as part of the 2012 tax deal. He voted for the tax deal:

Bill Nelson of Florida, not Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who has retired from the Senate.

J.S.K. on February 20, 2013 at 7:42 PM

Slightly OT but important: Rick Scott changes his mind on Obamacare
Disappointing
22044 on February 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM

Added to the list of treasonous bastards, including Brewer of AZ.

Mr. Arrogant on February 20, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Real people are being hurt by this monster already. People’s hours are being cut and they’re having to hunt for new or second jobs. This is Obama’s idea of job creation??? Fail.

CW on February 20, 2013 at 7:47 PM

The Senators don’t have to run from Obamacare, they’ve been exempted!

jeffersonschild on February 20, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Dem Senators look for someone to blame for Obamacare

…we need death panels for Dem Senators.

KOOLAID2 on February 20, 2013 at 7:51 PM

…we need death panels for Dem Senators.

KOOLAID2 on February 20, 2013 at 7:51 PM

And evidently, for Republican Governor’s as well.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/21/florida-rick-scott-expand-medicaid

Mr. Arrogant on February 20, 2013 at 7:56 PM

Again, you entrusted the building of a massive Jenga tower of subsidies and regulations to the legislative equivalent of a keg party

Heh. That’s funny … but it was more of a gang rape.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 20, 2013 at 8:12 PM

John Roberts comes to mind.

fogw on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 PM

Benedict Roberts should have stayed in Malta … forever. If Barky had lost the election (as he certainly should have) I would be screaming for Roberts to be impeached this very second. He is the most pathetic POS to ever sit on any court. He is an azz of galactic proportions who will go down in history as one of the most idiotic slimeballs to ever don robes, which is really saying something.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on February 20, 2013 at 8:15 PM

Again, you entrusted the building of a massive Jenga tower of subsidies and regulations to the legislative equivalent of a keg party…

That is some classic sass Mary Kate!

JusDreamin on February 20, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Ditkaca on February 20, 2013 at 7:15 PM

And contracts with MSDNC and CNN.

Philly on February 20, 2013 at 9:00 PM

Well the crisis that we supposedly fixed is gone, so we need another one that we can fix. That will keep the Low Information Voter back home happy!! Rinse, Repeat……Forever
——-Smartest Senate Democrats Evah

txmomof6 on February 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

Alan Grayson will be eaten by a ravenous JEWISH alligator in a horendous accident….sometime before the end of the year.
The portions of his body, recovered from the belly of the beast, will be identified by DNA.
I will weep for the alligator.
III/0317

dirtengineer on February 21, 2013 at 2:47 AM

HHS has said it will not have the Basic Health Program ready until 2015

No one is in charge in Washington.

At an ordinary company, if something is behind schedule, someone responsible calls a meeting and projects are canned or redesigned.

The HHS secretary needs to declare the writing and preparing finished, and she needs to go with what she has. I am not in favor of what she has, but we are all supposed to be planning how we each want to comply… but she has not pushed off the date for implementation of ObamaCare, everyone else is sitting on pins and needles while she campaigns and dreams up new requirements. When in doubt, simplify and make things less onerous for business and the consumer.

The writing is done. That is all there is time for. Put the Bill on the Table, will you? NOW.

They don’t want you to have time to make your best choice or choose your cleverest workaround.

We had to pass the bill to find out what is in it…When is that going to be?

Fleuries on February 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

If this delay, and all the other delays that will happen with this mess, actually become a political liability for the dems they already have an answer.

Blame republicans.

Not only does this solution have the advantage of time tested experience, it has in fact never failed.

It doesn’t matter that no republican voted for it. It doesn’t matter that they’ve been screaming for repeal since it was shoved down our throats illegally. It doesn’t matter that leftists have been in full throated support of it since day 1.

All that matters is that if a political price is to be paid, republicans will pay it. Some of them will even accept the blame.

runawayyyy on February 21, 2013 at 3:58 PM