Obama on Obamacare: Stuck between two narratives

posted at 9:21 pm on April 30, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

Old and busted: Everyone will love Obamacare once it’s fully implemented.
New hotness: Obamacare is almost totally in place right now and all the fuss about implementation is much ado about nothing.

Up until recently, Obamacare implementation was supposed to be the big payoff. “Once it’s fully implemented,” lived like a mantra on the lips and pens of administration officials, talking heads, and op-ed writers, promising a time when the Affordable Care Act’s popularity would soar once its fruits were revealed. Jan. 1, 2014 was the moment we’d all been waiting for. Supporters swore any unmet expectations would be met that day. Faster rising premiums? Wait until 2014. Getting your hours cut? Wait until 2014. Like your insurance but unable to keep it? Just wait until you see what we’ve got for you in 2014.

Today, President Obama had news for all of us. The wait is over. The Affordable Care Act is virtually completely implemented, he said, and 90 percent of Americans are enjoying its fruits even if they don’t know it. Asked about concerns raised about implementation by ObamaCare author Sen. Max Baucus, Obama responded:

Well, I — you know, I think that any time you’re implementing something big, there is going to be people who are nervous and anxious about is it going to get done until it’s actually done.

But — but let’s just step back for a second and — and — and make sure the American people understand what it is that we’re doing. The Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” has now been with us for three years.

It’s gone through Supreme Court tests. It’s gone through efforts to repeal. A huge chunk of it’s already been implemented.

And for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, they’re already experiencing most of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act even if they don’t know it. Their insurance is more secure. Insurance companies can’t drop them for bad reasons. Their kids are able to stay on their health insurance until they’re 26 years old. They’re getting free preventive care.

So there are a whole host of benefits that — for the average American out there, for the 85 to 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing’s already happened, and their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better, more secure than it was before. Full stop. That’s it. Now they don’t have to worry about anything else.

The American people could be forgiven for being underwhelmed. He’s right about the few popular parts of the bill he always cites— protection for those with preexisting conditions, coverage of adult children until age 26 on parents’ plans, etc.—though notably those elements haven’t raised the bill over 50 percent approval in three years.

But Obama promised average annual premium reductions of $2,500 per family once Obamacare passed. He promised no interruptions in your current coverage if you were satisfied with it. He promised to bend the cost curve down for government spending on health care while adding millions to Medicaid’s rolls. And, he promised to do it all without adding to the deficit. None of those things are true, yet he claims the master plan is 90 percent complete.

The president’s answer goes on to dismiss the very real pain and dissatisfaction Americans are feeling with their health insurance in the age of Obamacare. The strategy of his supporters is to blame any problems in the current system or impending problems on various for-profit companies trying to collect their pound of flesh before Obamacare is fully implemented. But now that implementation is a problem, and the president has already given up that argument, he instead pretends no problems exist—that the status quo is not only acceptable, but has met his goals.

This is an unwise strategy for a couple reasons. It sounds quite flippant to families dealing with the possibility or reality of colossal rate hikes that all their problems have already been solved, even if they don’t know it. To them, it’s demonstrably untrue, no matter what force they blame for it. To have the man who promised $2,500 rate cuts to push a rather unpopular bill for two years say the current situation is the fruition of his promise is the clearest barometer of how low expectations have fallen.

Two, the president dismissed the idea of fallout for people who have insurance now, despite many forecasts, red flags, and business protestations to the contrary. As New York Times Congressional reporter Jonathan Weisman tweeted during the press conference, this ride is not over for them. “Whoa, Obama claim that folks who have insurance now have already gone through the ACA implementation is just not rt. Lots of issues left.”

Phil Klein outlines just a few:

In reality, new taxes kick in next year along with the individual mandate, changes to Medicare, fines on businesses that do not offer health insurance, new insurance regulations that will drive up the cost of premiums, along with myriad other provisions with wide-ranging impact. And this assumes that the new insurance exchanges will be open for business in October and ready to deliver benefits in January, as scheduled.

I expected the president to blame current and future problems with the health care system on anything other than his overhaul. I didn’t expect him to pretend they don’t exist. The president even concedes in the same answer “even if we do everything perfectly, there’ll still be, you know, glitches and bumps, and there’ll be stories that can be written that says, oh, look, this thing’s, you know, not working the way it’s supposed to, and this happened and that happened. And that’s pretty much true of every government program that’s ever been set up.”

He’s already spent the last five years raising expectations impossibly high for this piece of legislation, which will be inextricably linked to his presidency forever. Now, as even its supporters concede this car’s probably going to get in the dirt, might be a good time to tap the brakes. But the president went the other direction, claiming no one but the 15 percent of uninsured have anything to worry about during implementation.

And, let’s talk about the 15 percent— that “small group of people” for whom he concedes implementation will be a problem. When we began the process of debating and passing Obamacare, some 80+ percent of insured Americans were satisfied with their health insurance coverage. The president insisted we disrupt much of the entire system to serve exactly the “small group of people” he now admits without any apology will be hardest hit by implementation. Again, the president who was elected in no small part because he “understands people like me” cavalierly dismisses the real pain his policies might impose on this “relatively narrow group.” I doubt the smallness of the group is any comfort to those in it, many of whom are young, healthy Americans who will suffer huge rate increases because of Obamacare or pay the tax man if they don’t acquiesce to their huge rate increases. Their concerns are more than mere “hue and cry” or “sky is falling” fears, as the president dismissively terms them. They used to be his principal reason for passing a giant piece of health care legislation. My, how times have changed.

For three years, we’ve been hearing Obamacare is a promise whose glories were merely deferred until “full implementation.” Now that full implementation is a problem, we’re told this was the promise all along.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

New hotness: ObamaCare is almost totally in place right now and all the fuss about implementation is much ado about nothing.

Yeah right..

I got a letter from my insurance company..

Basically it said..
Don’t count on the Grand Father Clause..

Thanks Obama.

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:22 PM

I love my higher rates and restricted access to treatments.

Thank you democrats and Obama!

tom daschle concerned on April 30, 2013 at 9:23 PM

If they expected Obamacare to be such a good deal they would have made it kick-in before the election last year. Now it will take 2/3 of Congress to repeal it because Obama will veto anything less.

myiq2xu on April 30, 2013 at 9:23 PM

Today, President Obama had news for all of us. The wait is over. The Affordable Care Act is virtually completely implemented, he said, and 90 percent of Americans are enjoying its fruits even if they don’t know it.

BS.

I am going to say it..
Obama is a rat-eared bastard..

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:24 PM

Absolutely shameless.

… and yet the wet noodle Boehner insists there is nothing he can do about it. It is the law of the land. Seems to have forgotten that spending originates in the House and the ability to strangle this abomination in the crib is in his power.

I hate these people.

AZfederalist on April 30, 2013 at 9:26 PM

coverage of adult children until age 26

Yeah, that’s a step in the right direction, children are now children until the age of 26.

In other news, MSDNC claims that Obamacare has cured the age old problem of the Generation Gap as a side benefit.

parke on April 30, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Milbank addresses Obama’s statement at the presser on Obamacare in this article

I wouldn’t ordinarily link Milbank, or ask you to read an article penned by him, but this one is amazing.

Seems the LEFT is getting a tad anxious about ‘The One’ and the ‘above the fray coolness’ and the ‘elegance’ has worn very thin and is now replace with ‘the moribund presidency’. LOL!

These are the same people who were so enraptured with Obama they sang his praises continually, and convinced that because we weren’t equally enthralled by every word the Unicorn Prince spoke, and dared to, *gasp*, actually disagree with his policies, we must be ‘raaaaacisssts’.

thatsafactjack on April 30, 2013 at 9:29 PM

This just shows how flexible he is.

davidk on April 30, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Yeah, that’s a step in the right direction, children are now children until the age of 26.

parke on April 30, 2013 at 9:29 PM

And they can now have the morning after pill at 15..
Without the legal guardian (hopefully a parent) knowing about it..
And then again..
And so on..

Thanks Obama..

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:31 PM

This is what is staring us in the face starting this year and we are screwed:

http://www.atr.org/obamacares-tax-hike-train-wreck-a7587

Bishop on April 30, 2013 at 9:32 PM

When we began the process of debating and passing Obamacare, some 80+ percent of insured Americans were satisfied with their health insurance coverage.

Which is precisely why those policies had to be replaced or modified with Demcare. Greedy 80 %’ers.

antipc on April 30, 2013 at 9:33 PM

The O-scum-a/Democrat pitch on this has been nothing but blatant contradictions all along. When they were trying (and failed) to sell it, half the time they were painting a picture of the uninsured as poor victims dying in the streets because they had no access to health care. (A lie.) The other half of the time they were vilifying the uninsured as “free riders.” (Another lie.) Are we seeing a pattern here?

WhatSlushfund on April 30, 2013 at 9:35 PM

They’re getting free preventive care.

If you thought preventive care was expensive yesterday, wait until you get a load of the expense now that it is ‘free’ today!!!

BTW, if you still use book-form dictionaries, please be advised that Merriam-Webster’s and Oxford University has agreed on the following revision to the definition of ‘free’:

free

44. for free, Informal. cost $20,000: The ‘free’ benefits that an average American family of 5 will receive from their healthcare provider will be paid for as a result of the $20,000 in premiums every year for the bare-bones-minimum Bronze Obamacare insurance policy, which it is worth repeating: COMES WITH ‘FREE’ preventative care, contraceptives, sterilisation, etc!

Please amend your copies accordingly.

Seriously, is it too much to ask to live in a society where the majority of people understand that the toy in a McDonald’s Happy Meal isn’t really ‘free’?

Is there some place beneath Hell? We’ve dumbed down idiocy so much that I’m afraid we are going to need the extra distance.

Resist We Much on April 30, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Here’s the plan in a nutshell:

Convince low-info voters that it’s already in place. Why, it’s been in place for years! (We’ve always been at war with East Asia.)

Once the Republicans start monkeying with it in a vain attempt at making it tolerable, because they clearly lack the onions to completely defund it and consign it to the dustbin of history, then Mighty Pharaoh can say, “See! See! Those rotten Republicans screwed it all up for everyone!”

CurtZHP on April 30, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Reforming America..
To a path of failure..

*I guess the libs didn’t have enough money to complete the message*

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:42 PM

All I want to know is, when are premiums going to be reduced by 3000%??

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 30, 2013 at 9:44 PM

It is amazing how many people are in that 10%, then.

Math is HARD for Liberals.

Lying is easy for Liberals as well.

ProfShadow on April 30, 2013 at 9:44 PM

All I want to know is, when are premiums going to be reduced by 3000%??

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on April 30, 2013 at 9:44 PM

When doctors and nurses are slaves..

At the rate this country is going..

in a few years..

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:45 PM

Seriously, is it too much to ask to live in a society where the majority of people understand that the toy in a McDonald’s Happy Meal isn’t really ‘free’?

Is there some place beneath Hell? We’ve dumbed down idiocy so much that I’m afraid we are going to need the extra distance.

Resist We Much on April 30, 2013 at 9:39 PM

If I ever get ambitious and start a blog, I have a picture I took at Hocker’s Supercenter in Sussex county Delaware. They had a huge banner hanging over the entrance proclaiming, EARN FREE GAS.

davidk on April 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

EARN FREE GAS.

davidk on April 30, 2013 at 9:46 PM

Snort. You could email it to me and I would put it up as a POTD.

Resist We Much on April 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

Now that full implementation is a problem, we’re told this was the promise all along.

Kind of like sex with a lying frog.

Axe on April 30, 2013 at 9:49 PM

he instead pretends no problems exist

“Problems” are issues that you are willing to deal with.

Otherwise, “NO PROBLEM!”

GarandFan on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

First open enrollment after shitcare passed… *poof*. gone was my healthcare.

I need a script for my BP med now. Can’t afford it. Doing without.

Small company. Owner couldn’t eat the increase.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

CurtZHP on April 30, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Without fail.

antipc on April 30, 2013 at 9:52 PM

I’m pretty sure all of this is over his head. I don’t think he understands the problems and I’m sure his aides aren’t filling him in on them.

BKeyser on April 30, 2013 at 9:54 PM

Free-

Over 8 million less people working than when he came into office.

Free time?

CW on April 30, 2013 at 9:56 PM

*You know, MKH — fairy tale frog. “I’m a Prince. Just kiss me.” That kind of thing.

lol — might not have been completely clear.

Axe on April 30, 2013 at 9:56 PM

First open enrollment after shitcare passed… *poof*. gone was my healthcare.

I need a script for my BP med now. Can’t afford it. Doing without.

Small company. Owner couldn’t eat the increase.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Sorry to hear that..
I work for a company that doesn’t have health insurance..
And now..
Never will..
But I am self employed also..
And provide health insurance through my business.
But with ObamaCare mostly fully being implemented in 2014..
I am told my Blue Cross..
Not to expect my high deductible insurance plan to stay around.

Basically, I am being forced on the Idaho Exchange System..

Where the lowest plan is 3x of what I am paying..

Electrongod on April 30, 2013 at 9:57 PM

*You know, MKH — fairy tale frog. “I’m a Prince. Just kiss me.” That kind of thing.

lol — might not have been completely clear.

Axe on April 30, 2013 at 9:56 PM

The frog is in a pot of soon to be boiling water. Any GOP princesses poking their pouties in for a smooch?

tom daschle concerned on April 30, 2013 at 10:07 PM

*princesses proffering their puckering pouties

tom daschle concerned on April 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Stuck on stupid.

Philly on April 30, 2013 at 10:11 PM

*princesses proffering their puckering pouties

tom daschle concerned on April 30, 2013 at 10:09 PM

Maybe we should just avoid frog metaphors. :)

They’re slippery.

I’m trying not to think of puckering pouties anyway.

Axe on April 30, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Why should he care? His (and the traiterous Left’s) plan to ruin America is happening.

SouthernGent on April 30, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Obama on Obamacare: Stuck between two narratives

Thios headline must have been borrowed from the
“It’s a tax”
“It’s not a tax”

kerfuffle.

itsnotaboutme on April 30, 2013 at 10:16 PM

coverage of adult children until age 26

Want to deflate a young persons Obama balloon?

Ask them what the age was before it ObamaCare made it 26.

Watch the reality move in as you tell them “25″.

BobMbx on April 30, 2013 at 10:18 PM

So this is basically who are are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes as you look at your health care bill.

This waving of hands to make it so is a new level in his audacious lying.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

I have relatives with high BP so I know how necessary the meds are to health. That’s is awful. I’m so sorry.

INC on April 30, 2013 at 10:21 PM

thatsafactjack on April 30, 2013 at 9:29 PM

Thank your for that link. It was remarkable.

The president was out of sorts from the start of the news conference, scheduled for 10:15 a.m. and postponed to 10:30. Obama finally came out at 10:46. “Good afternoon,” he said. “Or good morning.”

He didn’t attempt to set the tone for the event, skipping an opening statement. And he often found himself remarking on the difficulty of his job: intelligence sharing (“this is hard stuff”), closing Gitmo (“it’s a hard case to make”), Republican governors blocking his health-care law’s implementation (“that makes it harder”) and responding in Syria (“it is a difficult problem”).

Did some adviser tell him he had to do this presser? He didn’t even want to be there. He was simply phoning it in the entire time.

INC on April 30, 2013 at 10:26 PM

First open enrollment after shitcare passed… *poof*. gone was my healthcare.

I need a script for my BP med now. Can’t afford it. Doing without.

Small company. Owner couldn’t eat the increase.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 9:51 PM

Generic not available?

slickwillie2001 on April 30, 2013 at 10:26 PM

I can get generics. Have to go to urgentcare at about $165/pop for the script. Just to write a script. BS.

I’m not complaining. This, medical savings account that rolls over and catastrophic, good to go..

Beb Nelson was right. I don’t want gubmint help. Just let me manage it myself.

I don’t mind paying cash. Just don’t charge $100 to sign your name.

It’s not a narcotic. It’s bp med.

It’ll get a lot worse. The whole thing is screwed up. And people will die.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 10:46 PM

I had decent insurance. Then obama became president.

That’s my only point.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 10:54 PM

I had decent insurance. Then obama became president.

That’s my only point.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 10:54 PM

I’m sorry wolly4321. This is going to hit all of us in some form or another.
Do you try some of the natural ways to help your BP?
And following politics all the time is a surefire way to increase stress. A more relaxing hobby, perhaps?

lynncgb on April 30, 2013 at 11:21 PM

I can get generics. Have to go to urgentcare at about $165/pop for the script. Just to write a script. BS.

I’m not complaining. This, medical savings account that rolls over and catastrophic, good to go..

Beb Nelson was right. I don’t want gubmint help. Just let me manage it myself.

I don’t mind paying cash. Just don’t charge $100 to sign your name.

It’s not a narcotic. It’s bp med.

It’ll get a lot worse. The whole thing is screwed up. And people will die.

wolly4321 on April 30, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Can you tell me what it is?

slickwillie2001 on April 30, 2013 at 11:24 PM

…Americans are enjoying its fruits…

Oh yeah, like the increase premiums I’ve had, the constriction of “preventive care” options, the tax on my kids’ medical devices.

Thanks a whole lot for that.

batter on May 1, 2013 at 12:59 AM

he really thinks we are stupid….

cmsinaz on May 1, 2013 at 6:48 AM

Now that full implementation is a problem, we’re told this was the promise all along.

“As I’ve always said….”

Barnestormer on May 1, 2013 at 10:34 AM

My husband works for a big company — you know, one of those that are supposedly known for great health insurance benefits.

We’ve watched our premiums go up significantly, and our coverage levels go down, even when choosing the most comprehensive (and expensive) option available. First we went from copays to 10% co-insurance, which makes things like pediatrician appointments dirt cheap (like $5 a pop), but started nailing us for bigger things, like my toddler’s ear-tube surgery — for which I now was responsible for 10% of the hospital fees, 10% of the surgeon’s fees, and 10% of the anesthesiologist fees. It adds up. Fast.

Now the coverage dropped to the point where we’re responsible for 20% co-insurance for in-network providers. This included a repeat tube surgery for my daughter, plus everything for my current pregnancy and delivery — including the detailed ultrasounds, an echo-cardiogram for the baby due to a 2-vessel-umbilical cord, growth checks, and yes – the pending delivery (which will likely be a scheduled c-section since I’m not a good candidate for VBAC).

Of course, thanks to Obamacare, flex spending was capped at $2500, which we maxed out in March.

The only bright spot is that I will hit my out-of-pocket maximum when the baby comes. However, no doubt when this happens to countless other people on countless other insurance plans, this out-of-pocket max will likely go up significantly, before being removed completely when insurance companies start hemorrhaging money covering pre-existing conditions & children up to the age of 26 (those things that people “love”).

But as my bleeding-heart-liberal sister likes to brag — I can get a FREE BREAST PUMP! All thanks to Obamacare! And I should thank my lucky stars! F**k that…

I just hate how powerless it all makes me feel. We live responsibly, we’ve always prioritized our health-care and well-being over fancy homes/cars/devices, etc. And yet we’re the ones being punished.

Violina23 on May 1, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Their insurance is more secure.
You have to buy it and the insurance company has to sell it to you. Its the law.

Insurance companies can’t drop them for bad reasons.

Or good reasons.

Their kids are able to stay on their health insurance until they’re 26 years old.

We’ve raised the price of all family insurance plans.

They’re getting free preventive care.

“Free” meaning we’ve hidden the costs so well the mafia blushes at our ability to launder money. Of course this causes actual cost to go up, but nobody will know.

taznar on May 1, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Ack! Sorry about that. I swear I deleted that errant strike tag.

Lesson: Use preview.

taznar on May 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

he really thinks we are stupid….

cmsinaz on May 1, 2013 at 6:48 AM

“We” elected him twice. He knows damn well “we” are stupid. And he’s right.

My company dropped my coverage at the beginning of this year and replaced it with a high deductible low service plan that costs 3 times as much to use. This is simply a fact.

At the rate prices are increasing, everyone will soon have a “cadillac” plan, and will be paying the requisite 40% tax on it. Well, everyone but congress.

runawayyyy on May 1, 2013 at 3:45 PM