TPM Reader T(heda) S(kocpol) on the President’s ‘fix’ and the big picture on the bumpy roll out …
I doubt that the Obama people think this newly announced move is really a fix. It deflects blame and buys time, simply because even with various Dems defecting on this or that vote or bill, as they surely know many will, Congress won’t be able to act on this issue any more than it can act on any other.
Obama has simply staked out a cautious position for himself and can say he has acted while others thrash about, including the state regulators (many in refusnik states) and the big insurers (who are hardly innocent victims, because they have issued these waves of letters explicitly blaming ACA).
No way things will go well for quite a while. Getting website sorta working is crucial as you say. So is getting Congress out of town and the country past January 1. After January 1, hundreds of thousands of additional Americans will be insured and otherwise protected by this law, with numbers growing as Medicaid expands and people sign up on exchanges. No matter what, the GOP repeal position becomes untenable then. Dems will have newly insured people to feature and point to.
The process of signing people up is going to move forward haltingly, especially in the refusnik states, but coverage is expanding. Groups and GOPers will keep complaining, and most media coverage is truly terrible. Social security could never have survived this in early years. But this law just is not going to be repealed and Congress may not agree on eviscerations either. I also see more steps forward on Medicaid, and intend to do an analysis on that this weekend.
Fitfull progress is the name of the game. Polls just matter very little and the hysterical tone of DC is off the mark on the underlying realities.
Maybe my point is : there will be halting progress, lots of misplaced media drama, and never a Eueraka breakthrough moment, but the law is going forward.