White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that the “public opinion will take care of itself” on President Obama’s signature healthcare law, despite polling that shows the reform legislation remains deeply unpopular.
“The picture that has been painted by opponents does not represent the truth,” said Carney, who also noted that “there has been a constant effort by Republicans to undermine the law, try to repeal the law, try to obstruct the implementation of the law.”
“The fact of the matter is millions of Americans are already receiving benefits because of the Affordable Care Act that they did not have prior to its passage,” Carney said.
Two U.S. government officials warned on Wednesday that the launch of new state healthcare exchanges could potentially be delayed, raising further doubts about the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.
Alan Duncan, an auditor with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an Internal Revenue Service agency that monitors performance, said testing the systems needed to implement the exchanges “will be difficult to complete” by the October 1 start date.
“The lack of adequate testing could result in significant delays and errors in accepting and processing … applications for health insurance coverage,” he told the House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform committee.
Less than a third of small businesses say they’re prepared for the regulatory mandates under ObamaCare, a new survey from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found…
“Excessive regulation is having a crippling effect on job growth among small businesses, as our latest small-business survey makes clear,” said Rob Engstrom, the Chamber’s senior vice president. “In fact, the only thing that scares small businesses more than the current business climate is what Washington bureaucrats will do next.”
The survey found that 30 percent of businesses were not ready to comply with the new rules. Roughly 25 percent reported not knowing what they had to do to follow the law.
Seventy-one percent of the more than 1,300 small-business executives polled said they would be less likely to hire employees because of the healthcare law, according to the survey.
One person who was decidedly not in the audience Thursday was Mary Miller, the CEO of Jancoa, a 41-year-old, family-owned janitorial business in Cincinnati, Ohio. Miller shared her grievances with Congress last year.
“This will destroy the foundation on which this company was built, and the quality of life we are trying to help our employees achieve,” Miller said on the House floor last July.
Miller has 340 employees, and the law will soon require her to provide them with health insurance. Miller said she now faces the choice of $1.4 million for employee healthcare, $640,000 in fines for not buying them healthcare, or cutting hours for employees so they are no longer full-time, and thus not required to be insured.
“I’m going out of business that’s not okay with me. I have 340 employees and their families depend on that,” Miller told CNN.
I think we’ve reached sort of an interesting moment in the post-passage of the Affordable Care Act because until this point you’ve sort of seen cracks in the foundations, people who have been following this closely like Jim Angle and others have understood that we were about to see an unraveling, that we were about to see a crumbling. But what we’ve seen in recent weeks, whether it’s Max Baucus calling it a “train wreck” or Tom Harkin suggesting delaying the employer mandate was not going to be lawful or this stunning letter from unions going after the president, saying that this will have disastrous effects not only on union members but millions of Americans, the NFL distancing itself from comments that Secretary Sebelius has made. All of that taken together, you’re now seeing the public collapse of Obamacare.
So, we’re seeing the edifice of Obamacare I think start to collapse. And that’s something that the White House has to be tremendously concerned about. And what these votes in the House are doing today is putting Democrats in the House in a very difficult position to vote either in favor of suspending the employer mandate, which is what the White House has argued in favor of doing but instructed Democratic House members not to vote that way.
Since the end of 2010, those viewing the law unfavorably have — with a handful of exceptions — always outpaced those who see it in a favorable light. In June, 43 percent regarded the law unfavorably while just 35 percent had a favorable view of it. (Worth noting: Eight percent of those who had an unfavorable view of the law did so because it didn’t, in their minds, go far enough to overhaul the health care system.)…
Looking at the data, it’s readily apparent that views about the law have cemented in place. When that sort of thing happens in public opinion, virtually no external event — no matter how dramatic or seemingly important — can change perceptions in any statistically meaningful way. (One foreign policy example: Once the public soured on the war in Iraq, there was nothing anyone could do to change that sentiment.)…
And so, President Obama’s speech today will almost certainly not move the needle on the issue. People who already like the law will still like it. Those who don’t won’t.
But despite the administration’s messaging efforts, news in the days that followed did little to dispel the perception that the Obama administration may not be up to the task of implementing the law. That’s not an unusual turn of events. So far, the law’s implementation has been marked by missed deadlines, mismanagement, and general bureaucratic ineptitude…
GAO has provided other reasons to be skeptical about the health department’s competence as well. In a separate report in November, the office also found that HHS was among several government agencies failing to properly assess the cost and effectiveness of internal IT systems. Another GAO report warned that the health department was not exercising sufficient oversight of contractors in its Medicaid audit program. An audit of HHS finances last year by an independent contractor, meanwhile, found that the agency had ongoing material weaknesses in its financial management, owing in part to the department’s size and complexity. HHS has known about some of these weaknesses for years.
This is the wing of the federal government primarily tasked with implementing the largest, most complicated, most expensive social insurance scheme in decades: an agency that has demonstrated repeated failures to manage its own technology infrastructure, its fleet of contractors, or its sprawling financial controls.
Is it any surprise that implementation is not going entirely as planned? If anything, it’s almost more of a surprise when anything does.