1. Bryan Beutler in Salon.com rightfully puts Obama's now-infamous and incorrect quote of "If you like your health plan, you can keep it," into context. If you recall how things were this time 4 years ago, the GOP was using deceptive Frank Luntz talking points about "government options" and "government takeovers" of the health care industry.
Part of it can be attributed to the Democrats’ elephantine memory of Bill Clinton’s failed attempt to overhaul the healthcare system. It turns out that the biggest obstacle facing anyone trying to reform the healthcare system is that you can’t do it without creating some amount of disruption, and most people in the country have insurance they’re pretty happy with. So Obama wanted to minimize not just the disruption but the fear of disruption itself. A fair critique of Obamacare is that it leaves too many of the worst parts of the old system in place, but that’s no consolation if you took Obama at his word.Given all of this noise being thrown around by the GOP (and amplified by right-wing radio and Faux News), Obama felt he had to reassure people that the changes in Obamacare would not be a major disruption to most people's lives, especially those that already had insurance.
Another part of the story, though, is that he was responding to an incredible amount of bullshit...
Noble lies have in many ways defined the debate over the Affordable Care Act, but the vast majority of them have been lies conservatives told in a failed effort to nix reform. Death panels are the most famous such lie. Another is that Obamacare is destroying the economy, creating a part-time labor pandemic and a major obstacle to recovery from the great recession. A third is that it will blow up the debt.
A fourth, also still with us, is that Obamacare is a stalking horse for socialized healthcare. (I wish it was!)
Now this doesn't make what Obama said OK, precisely because it was predictable that some insurance companies and businesses would use Obamacare as an excuse to hurt their current customers, and turn the exchanges into the back-door public option that it is. What Obama should have done is been tougher and said "If you're currently insured, you'll keep your plan, unless your insurance company refuses to raise its coverage to an acceptable standard, or your employer wants to be cheap and shed costs. In that case, we can insure you through the exchanges." But of course, this was the Obama that was naively clinging to the belief that he was a ""post-partisan" president that should work with TeaBag Republicans, and not put the spotlight on businesses who were screwing over their customers. And he's now paying the price for that naivete.
2. Jon Stewart used Obama's "If you like your health care, you can keep it" statement to start up a segment where he ended up destroying Faux News and Republicans for lying their asses off about what Obamacare does and does not do, and also on how they're lying over what effects it is having on the insurance market.
But then again, all of the right-wing volume on Obamacare glitches is just another trip up what Stewart accurately called "Bullshit Mountain", a right-wing bubble-world of misinformation.
3. And when Obamacare is fully in place in early 2014, the Republicans trying to take political advantage of the glitches are going to look even worse (and we better not allow people to forget what they said). It's not like the current registration difficulties are leading to major changes in people's opinions about Obamacare. A recent Reuters poll showed that nationwide approval for Obamacare actually went UP in October to 47 percent from 44 in September, and this is particularly true among those who need Obamacare for their insurance.
The uninsured view the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, more favorably since online marketplaces opened - 44 percent compared with 37 percent in September, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll. It found that 56 percent oppose the program compared with 63 percent in September.And I'd imagine it'll do even better once people's coverage begins, and folks look around in Summer 2014 and realize the world didn't end, unlike what the Republicans have claimed would happen over the last 4 years.
A higher proportion of the uninsured also said they are interested in buying insurance on the exchanges, with 42 percent in October, saying they were likely to enroll compared with 37 percent in September. The results have a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.
"The launch of the exchanges, that's the first real world event for a lot of people," said Chris Jackson, an Ipsos pollster. "There's been this sense that once people got familiar with it, public opinion would start to move in its direction."
But if the Republicans want to keep trying to TeaBag Obamacare, especially when they have to come to another budget deal in December and January, they might want to keep in mind that Obamacare repeal was a LOSER in the recent election for governor in Virginia. Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports that only 27% of Virginians wanted Obamacare to be repealed, and Gov-elect Terry McAuliffe's pollster says Ken Cuccinelli's anti-Obamacare stance turned off more voters than it turned on.
“We tested Cuccinelli’s brag that he was the first attorney general to sue to stop Obamacare,” [Geoff] Garin said. “That actually made more voters less likely to support him than more.”So please proceed with your no-solution bashing of the Obama Administration and Obamacare, GOPs. It'll lead to a whole lotta Dem wins in 2014.
“A majority disapproved of the Affordable Care Act, but in Virginia, as elsewhere, we found that a lot of these voters want to fix the law,” Garin said. “Cuccinellis’ position on Obamacare actually supported what we were saying about him, which is that he was extreme and supported a national Tea Party agenda.”