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Obama tries to nail down healthcare legacy

"Obama tries to nail down healthcare legacy" Continued...

That increase would be a blow to Obama’s campaign pledge that his healthcare law would “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.” But Obama does not have to go before the voters any more. The premium jump could devastate his Democratic colleagues who will be on the ballot this November and boost the chance that Republicans control Congress for the final two years of Obama’s presidency.

“Under Obamacare, the American people are paying more and getting less,” said Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga. “Less access, less quality, fewer choices, and a healthcare system that is increasingly responsive to Washington’s needs at the expense of individuals and families.”

Many Democrats hope Obamacare will fade from voters’ minds before this November and that their last memory of it will be the media’s coverage of Tuesday’s Rose Garden celebration. But voters are unlikely to forget the higher premiums and the repeated crashes of the Obamacare website, which froze again on the deadline day for signups despite the government’s spending $677 million to make sure the site would not go down.

Obama in his Rose Garden ceremony did not mention the cost of the website, though he did jab at reporters for putting the website’s “stumbles” on the front page. Obama also didn’t mention the nearly 40 delays to and exemptions from Obamacare that his administration has doled out. He didn’t bring up his past comments, dubbed the “lie of the year” by some media outlets, that if you like your insurance, you can keep it. But Obama did mention one thing that even Republicans would agree with:

“Premiums are still rising for families who have insurance,” Obama said, before going on to blame Republican governors for refusing to work with Obamacare.

Those rate hikes and other Obamacare uncertainties are why so many rank-and-file Democrats were silent on Tuesday while their leaders celebrated. Pelosi told reporters while leaving the White House Obamacare party that she would now focus her attention elsewhere.

“I think that, while we’re proud of the Affordable Care Act, we now pivot to job creation,” she said. 

She is right that most elections are about jobs. But now, thousands of jobs are tied to Obamacare and its mandates. This November, voters will register their own opinions on whether the debate about Obamacare is over.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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