One huge political question surrounds the catastrophic launch of Obamacare: Will the administration double-talk, cancelled insurance contracts for millions, terminated doctor-patient relationships, sticker shock from higher premiums and deductibility, and damage to job hiring and economic growth get the GOP off the shutdown hook for the 2014 midterm elections?
That is the question. Donald Rumsfeld would call it a known unknown. And right now nobody knows the answer.
But Christopher Ruddy, founder and CEO of Newsmax, makes an interesting point about this: “The key to stopping Obamacare is for its opponents to win in congressional elections in 2014. Delaying Obamacare only helps the Democrats who support this boondoggle.”
So far, with all the problems plaguing the Obamacare website, Senator Marco Rubio is leading the Republican charge to delay the March 31 enrollment deadline and tax penalty. And a lot of Republicans are lining up behind him. But is that the right tactic? On the Democratic side, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and nine of her colleagues are urging the White House to push back the same deadline. But is that just to save their reelection hides next November?
Now, Obama recently appointed a new team to fix the website. And that team promptly predicted a successful fix by the end of November. So if that happens, it’s possible the whole Obamacare-disaster issue dies.
But according to highly respected health-industry expert Bob Laszewski, the chances of that are low. He says it will take at least a year to fix the “backend” problems — the technical links between the website, the HHS, and most importantly the insurance companies, which are receiving massively error-laden information.
Laszewski says this is more important than the frontend disaster, where somebody in the Obama administration — literally at the last minute in mid-September — gave the order that the website require a detailed account-registration process before a user can shop for insurance.
Nobody knows why that decision was made. Perhaps it was to stop the media from seeing unsubsidized premium prices that undermine Obama’s promise for cheaper insurance. Or maybe the Obama folks wanted to block potential registrants from pricing-structure sticker shock. Either way, the decision to put registration ahead of shopping blew up the whole system.
And it may also have blown up Obama’s attempt to break the Republican party in half and carry a Democratic House in 2014.
And that’s Ruddy’s point: If Republicans hold the House and win the Senate next year, there’d be two houses to repeal Obamacare. But if the March 31 delay effort works, will voters forgive and forget a botched website launch?
Experts like Laszewski are now talking about the possibility of 16 million people getting pink slips for their current insurance. That’s no insurance. No doctor. Nothing. Already, over 1 million people have lost their insurance, with cancellation notices actually soaring above Obamacare enrollment rates.