It hasn't been the best of months for those Democrats who stood behind the Affordable Care Act all this while, only to be visited upon by the twin maladies of a federal exchange website that wasn't ready for primetime and the constant drumbeat of complaints over President Barack Obama's famous "If you like your plan you can keep it" promise. The question now is, how goes the resolve of the Democratic caucus? Because what bleeds leads, here's Josh Kraushaar with today's dispatch from the heart of the "Dems In Disarray" meme:
Unless the HealthCare.gov website miraculously gets fixed by next month, there's a growing likelihood that over time, enough Democrats may join Republicans to decide to start over and scrap the whole complex health care enterprise. That became clear when even Obama, to stop the political bleeding, offered an administrative fix that threatened the viability of the entire individual exchange market to forestall a House Democratic mutiny the next day. It was as clear sign as any that the president is pessimistic about the odds that the federal exchange website will be ready by the end of the month, as promised.
Cool story, bro, but you got any sources on this? Well, we learn that Vice President Joe Biden didn't mention the Affordable Care Act whilst stumping for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), and there are critical comments from two House Democrats who nevertheless saw fit to cast a vote against Rep. Fred Upton's (R-Mich.) legislative "fix." The sexiest quote -- "We're on our own. We don't care what the White House says. Would you trust them?" -- comes from an anonymous "Democratic campaign operative," which as a rule ranks pretty low in the hierarchy of anonymous sources.
Naturally, it would not be all that surprising to anyone who's studied the local caucus culture to see skittish Democrats herding for an exit in order to preserve their seats in Congress. Should Jeff Zients' efforts to fix the website in a timely fashion fail -- and the clock is ticking! -- then Democrats will have suffered a major defeat in this period of Obamacare trench warfare.
That said, "scrapping the entire enterprise" may seem a wee bit extreme, given the fact that everyone has the option of delaying the enrollment period by a month or two.
An additional thing worth considering is the daily barrage of sad letters from insurance companies informing people that they are losing their plans, which went unremarked upon for many years until recently, when these letters suddenly became extremely important to everybody. You think that after "scrapping the entire enterprise" there might be tens of thousands more letters like that, only this time going out to Obamacare beneficiaries who have successfully registered? Have fun owning that.
The reality is that everyone has essentially gone "all-in" on this. We're just waiting to see what sort of card Zients turns over.
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