Plouffe: Obamacare Will Work . . . by 2017

by Patrick Brennan

Former senior Obama adviser David Plouffe is optimistic about Obamacare — over the long run. By 2017, he said, almost every state will have accepted the law’s Medicaid expansion (states such as Ohio have indeed recently decided to accept it) and they will be running their own exchanges. “It’s just a fact” that the law will work, he said, though “it may take until this president leaves office.”

“This program was designed to be implemented by the states,” Plouffe said, “and in most states that are running their own exchanges it’s going quite well.” One state, Idaho, is indeed planning to set up its own state-run exchange at some point, but is using the federal exchange for now.

Plenty of states with their own exchanges, however, have run into problems, both because most of their sites aren’t working well either and because they still have to communicate with a “federal data hub” that isn’t working. That problem has even plagued the Medicaid expansion. Earlier in the program, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had a more pessimistic take than Plouffe: Programs, she said, have reputations just like people, and it’s just as hard to repair the shattered image of a program like Obamacare.

This Week host George Stephanopoulos asked Plouffe about the president’s plummeting ratings on trustworthiness and honesty. Plouffe attributed some of that drop to the government shutdown, which Democrats argued reflected so poorly on Republicans, saying it hurt Americans’ trust in government overall.