Sadly, it has come to this. President Obama has run out of positive arguments to make in favor of his signature health-reform law. Gone are the sweeping promises about lower costs for all, bending the cost curve, keeping your insurance, and a wonderful new modernized medical system. Instead, Mr. Obama is left with staging ridiculous press conferences to tout the rebate checks his health bill makes insurance companies send people.
From fundamental health reform to cheering petty government giveaways in only three years – that’s a long way to fall. Of course, those petty giveaways, which will eventually go away, are all Mr. Obama has left to cheer about. Major parts of the law have failed or will soon do so.
The employer mandate designed to preserve access to health insurance has been delayed. The government can’t manage the insurance-subsidy program that’s supposed to ensure affordable health coverage. Only a handful of states have attempted to set up the exchange markets that were to be central to the law. Now, administration officials have admitted that those markets too are going to have a “bumpy” rollout.
“We know our friends say we have problems, so we use the president to talk up the positive,” a senior administration official told CBS News Thursday.
If lame handouts are all the president has to “talk up,” then it’s probably time to put Obamacare out of its misery.
Don’t think so? Ask the dozens of House Democrats who voted to postpone the individual and employer mandates yesterday. When members of Mr. Obama’s own party are abandoning ship, it’s a sign that things aren’t getting better.
There isn’t even any political risk to pulling the plug. Obamacare has always been decidedly unpopular with the public. Independent voters hate it nearly as much as Republicans do. Only Democrats like it, and even they’ve stopped cheering now.
The only thing stopping Mr. Obama from putting health reform out of its misery is his own sad refusal to let go. It’s a pity, too, because the longer he hangs onto hope, the more the rest of us will suffer.
Matt Cover is Content Editor at Rare. Follow him on Twitter @MattCover