Actually, I can think of two items on the agenda.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday will convene a special meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus and senior White Officials to discuss the troubled rollout of ObamaCare…
The Senate leader said President Obama called him Tuesday evening to discuss healthcare and other issues.
Several Democrats have signed onto a proposal sponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) that would force insurance companies to let people keep their health plans if they like them.
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he would have a better idea of what proposals Democrats will push to improve the new law after the Thursday meeting.
Agenda item one: Are they really going to cover their asses politically by passing Mary Landrieu’s bill knowing that it’ll increase the damage to ObamaCare? If you support the law, as every Democrat does, the last thing you should want to do in the wake of the website meltdown is further discourage healthy people from signing up on the exchanges. Give ’em back their old plans and you’re guaranteeing that the risk pools for new ObamaCare-approved policies will be even sicker and older than they already are. And the older and sicker they get, the higher premiums will have to be next year to make up for the losses, which will further discourage healthy people from enrolling. There’s a two-word term to describe that phenomenon. Hint: One of the words is “spiral.” And yet, not only is Landrieu’s bill still in play, other Democrats like Mark Udall are introducing their own “keep your plan” bills.
Agenda item two: How long before the Healthcare.gov Chernobyl is finally contained? Administration sources keep reassuring the media that November 30th is still the target date, but Sebelius told people listening to today’s HHS conference call that they might want to consider enrolling directly on individual insurance companies’ websites instead. (You’d lose your subsidy if you do that, but something like 41 percent of people whose plans have been dropped aren’t eligible for subsidies anyway.) Jim Moran went so far as to say, “They are not going to meet the November 30th deadline, I would bet anything on that. If I had a farm I’d bet the farm on that.” (Another Democrat who spoke to BuzzFeed for the story at the last link described the meeting with White House aides this morning as “incredibly tense.”) How much longer do they have to wait for good news? If the website is still in ruins next month, Obama — and congressional Democrats — will be forced to consider extending the enrollment period or delaying the mandate. If there’s no avoiding a shinola-eating vote in December, why not take a more politically popular one now on “keep your plan” to mitigate the damage?
I’ll leave you with this, from health-industry expert Bob Laszewski: “The audacity of this administration to continue telling people to keep going back to the website and the call center when they knew full well that only 25 people per day per state were making it thorough the gauntlet that is Healthcare.gov is startling. This program is in grave danger of collapsing if the administration cannot dramatically grow the size of the risk pool and attract healthy people to it.”