BY JOHN FEEHERY
Reprinted from TheFeeheryTheory.com
You can fix a website. You can’t fix Obamacare.
At least, you can’t fix Obamacare easily.
It is not clear yet if the problems that currently plague the Obamacare website are an early indicator of a program that is going to be a wild success or an unmitigated disaster.
You can make the case that the problems that have plagued the program are caused by a system that is oversubscribed, that too many people want to get into it and that is why it crashed. You can also make the case that this situation is endemic of a law that has been poorly thought out and will never work in the real world.
What will ultimately make or break this law is not a website. That can be fixed and probably will be fixed in a couple of months. What will ultimately make or break this law will be its impact on people who already have health insurance.
I say that because about 80% of the American people already had private insurance before Obamacare went into effect and they are not going to be happy if Obamacare screws that up for them.
The President promised the American people that they could keep the health insurance that they currently have. If that turns out to be untrue, that will be disastrous for the Obama White House.
If it turns out that Obamacare has a negative impact on insurance rates for those who have health insurance, that will be disastrous for the Democrats.
If it turns out that under Obamacare, it is impossible to find a decent doctor or if it turns out that you can’t get an appointment with the doctor you currently have, then it will be bad for the President.
In fact, the big risk for the President is that now that Obamacare is the law of the land (and I acknowledge that it is the law of the land) every single problem that now happens in the health insurance market place will be blamed not on the health insurers, but on Obamacare.
It used to be fairly routine to blame long waits, higher prices, complex forms, scarcity of good doctors, etc. etc, on the health insurance industry. They made a nice scapegoat, because so many titans of the health insurance industry made huge salaries.
Well, now that we have Obamacare, we have a new scapegoat.
It used to be that the insurance industry would be blamed for de facto health care rationing. But now we have Obamacare and now the President will be blamed for the inevitable rationing that will occur.
By passing Obamacare, the President did more than have the government assume the costs of health care for millions of Americans. He also had the government assume the blame.
I readily admit that Obamcare might turn out to be very popular for the relatively small segment of the population that didn’t have health insurance before. But for the vast majority of Americans who had health insurance before, this law could turn out to be a scapegoat for all things that could possibly go wrong with the system. And it might even be the cause of some of those things.
Editor’s Note: John Feehery worked for former House Speaker Dennis Hastert and other Republicans in Congress. Feehery is president of Quinn Gillespie Communications. He is a contributor to The Hill’s Pundits Blog and blogs at thefeeherytheory.com.