With few exceptions, Obamacare never had support amongst Republicans who felt it was an infringement on individual liberty and too massive of a big government program to work. Over the past 24-hours it has become clear that the President's signature legislation is nearing its end game, not because of the GOP, but because of Democrats who feel it's an infringement on individual liberty and so massive of a big government program its not working (and it's hurting their election chances).
The attacks on the program have come from everywhere. Bill Clinton told an interviewer that while he supported the program it's time for the president to keep his promise and allow people to keep their health plan. Diane Feinstein announced she is going to co-sponsor a bill which will provide relief to those who forced to lose their plan because of Obamacare. The administration is beginning to leak that they will not make the promised 11-30 fix date for the Healthcare.gov website. The 11-30 date may be unnecessary because the beltway scuttlebutt is house Democrats have told Obama that he has until this Friday, 11-15 to come up with an Obamacare fix or else they will join with house Republicans and fix it themselves.
The Bill Clinton comment was typical "Clintonian politics," it wasn't really about Obamacare, it was about his wife's campaign for president. Former President Bubba told the interviewer that he thinks Obamacare is a good program but Obama had to back up the you can keep your heath care promise, distancing his wife from the Obamacare problems, but not from the progressive program itself.
They were the ones who heard the promise, if you like what you’ve got you can keep it," he said, referring to people who are now receiving cancellation letters from insurers. "I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to these people and let them keep what they got."Perhaps the most surprising event of the past 24-hours was Diane Feinstein's (D-CA) announcement that she will co-sponsor a bill by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to require insurance companies to continue offering their existing health care plans — a way to make good on President Barack Obama’s promise that consumers can keep their current coverage if they like it.
Do not underestimate the importance of the Feinstein move. She is not a Democrat in a red state facing a tough reelection campaign in 2014 like Landrieu or Joe Manchin. Even if she were up for reelection her's is a very safe seat. According to the Senior Senator from the "People's Republic of California," her move was inspired by the fact she has gotten 30,842 calls, e-mails and letters from her constituents about the President's broken "you can keep your insurance" promise.
This morning the Washington Post is reporting that the problems with the Healthcare.gov Obamcare website may not be fixed by the November 30th date as promised by the Administration, the biggest problem is it still cant handle the volume:
Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.Most disastrous for the President is the report that Congressional Democrats have given the president 72 hours, until Friday, to do something significant about the disastrous health care roll-out. Otherwise, they claim they are ready to join Congressional Republicans on an Obamacare fix.
The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time — about half its intended capacity, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal information. And CGI Federal, the main contractor that built the site, has succeeded in repairing only about six of every 10 of the defects it has addressed so far.
Government workers and technical contractors racing to repair the Web site have concluded, the official said, that the only way for large numbers of Americans to enroll in the health-care plans soon is by using other means so that the online system isn’t overburdened.
The GOP Plan is being pushed by Fred Upton (R-MI) is actually weaker than the one being co-sponsored by Diane Feinstein. It gives insurance companies the option of continuing all existing health plans for a year. Feinstein's bill would require insurance companies to continue offering existing plans.
Both plans will significantly damage Obamacare, they undermine insurance exchanges. The sticker shock people are feeling about the exchange now is nothing compared to the shock people will feel when insurance companies get to re-figure their pricing based on the actual number, ages and heath of the people who signed up.
What is lurking in the shadows is the employer mandate, which starts next year. This too will result in a horde of people losing their plans, this time it wont only be the insurance companies cancelling plans, but it will be the employers themselves who will be dropping health coverage and sending employees into the exchange.
Is Obamacare near collapse? It's very hard to see Obama getting out of this quagmire. Even if he fixes the broken promise and the web site the product Obamacare itself has lost the trust of the people. People are not going to buy a product they do not trust. Obama could try and re-sell the program to the people, but along with the lower approval ratings in the latest Quinnipiac poll for the first time a majority of Americans, 52% said they do not find President Obama honest and trustworthy. And should the website not work great on November 30th as the Washington Post suggests, the lack of trust will accelerate.
The mid-term elections are only a year away. All house seats and one-third of senate seats will be up next November, the 72-hour deadline given the President, and the Feinstein/Landrieu bill are both indications that incumbent Democrats are getting very nervous, those frayed nerves will get worse as we get closer to Election Day.
The pressure on Obama to allow a congressional fix is severe, I don't believe he will be able to withstand the political pressure, but even if things are fixed, lack of trust and the prospect of this all happening next year when the employer mandate kicks in will send this affront to personal liberty down the path of total collapse.