Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel seems like an honest guy — even when it gets him in trouble (RELATED: Chief Obamacare architect: ‘If you want to keep your doctor, you can pay for it’). And that honesty was on full display Wednesday, after the healthcare expert denounced the policy implications of yet another Obamacare delay but admitted that “for the political gain, it’s worth it.”
Emanuel spoke with MSNBC’s Alex Wagner about the White House’s unilateral delay of a deadline to kill insurance plans that don’t meet minimum guidelines. The delay will prevent hundreds of thousands of Americans from losing what the Obama administration feels are subpar plans — at least until after the November midterm elections.
The White House routinely denies that their changes to Obamcare — 30 and counting — are politically motivated, instead arguing that they are merely seeking to implement the law most effectively. But Emanuel — who worked for years as a healthcare expert in the Obama administration — admitted this new delay isn’t about policy, but the ballot box.
“Policy-wise, it’s probably a toss-up,” he told Wagner. “I actually think what the White House is doing is to say, ‘Look, there’s a lot of unrest about it. It’s distracting. If we extend it, it really doesn’t have that big an effect.’”
“They think, ‘well, for the political gain, it’s worth it to do that,’” he explained. “And it certainly isn’t a big deal. I keep saying — you know, they seem to be very strategic at the White House — do some of these things that are good politically but really don’t affect the underlying policy — that defend the underlying policy. Like, no chance, no way are we going to roll back the individual mandate or anything like that. And so I think that’s part of the strategy.”
Wagner seemed a little stunned. “Well, I guess I gotta play devil’s advocate for a second here, Zeke,” she said, “because to be honest, it does seem, sort of, transparently political that they would do this ahead of the midterm elections when we know the White House is very concerned about Democrats holding on to their Senate seats.” She also expressed concern over Americans who would be stuck with substandard plans because of the delay.
“I agree with you, Alex,” Emanuel claimed. “I don’t like these substandard plans, I’ve been a very big critic of them. I was a critic of the initial delay. I’m not advocating this delay. I think it’s understandable, and I also think it doesn’t go to the heart of the Affordable Care Act and making sure it really impacts the American healthcare system. But you know, I agree.”
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