POLITICS

Whatevs! President makes clear ObamaCare numbers don’t matter

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Politics,Chris Stirewalt,Power Play

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Buzz Cut:
• Whatevs! President makes clear ObamaCare numbers don’t matter
• Showdown in Ariz.
• Gut check on Obama overreach
• Sink-ing: Dem worries about getting maids, landscapers
• Obama has say on size of Clinton docu-dump
• Anatomy of a breakup

OBAMA CELEBRATES WEAK HEALTH LAW ENROLLMENT
President Obama
now claims that 4 million people have signed up for ObamaCare. That’s far below the number of policies cancelled under the law, so it’s not too surprising that there would be a market for the program. It’s also far below the 7 million enrollments to which the administration once aspired. Plus, based on the president’s track record on ObamaCare statistics, we can have relatively little confidence in this number. But however many millions of people have voluntarily complied with the law, we certainly don’t know how many of them have actually paid for policies or obtained coverage. It’s a mess the magnitude of which we will only start to understand in the months after the current enrollment drive ends on March 31. But here’s something we do know: Whatever the enrollment numbers, the president and his team will call it a victory – as Vice President Joe Biden said, “a hell of a start.” The wonk patrol is testing administration assumptions and warning that these crummy numbers could damage the overall viability of the law. They’re missing the point, though. Once it was clear that the implementation of ObamaCare would be this ghastly, victory was off the table. The name of the game now: survive and advance.

Whatevs - If you want to know how little emphasis is placed on quality when it comes to ObamaCare, consider the new revelation that the team working on the rollout plunged ahead with launch despite urgent warnings about dangers to consumer data. As one email reads “The front office is signing [authorizations to proceed] whether or not they are a high risk.” That kind of sums it up for the launch and the law’s ongoing travails. It’s governance YOLO style. The bailouts built into the law give the president confidence that he can deluge the insurance industry with enough tax dollars to keep everything afloat for a few years, whatever happens now. That, combined with selective enforcement of troublesome provisions, ought to keep the law sputtering along until it’s too late to do anything about it. By then, Americans will have come to accept the new normal of ObamaCare. As the president himself says, the law will be seen as successful after he has left office. Until then, it’s time to grin and bear it. Sounds like a super fun second half of your second term, Mr. President.

JUST FOR THE RECORD, MADAM SECRETARY
That was then -
“Well, I think success looks like at least seven million people having signed up by the end of March 2014.”—Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to NBC News, Sept. 2013.

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