Yesterday the Obama administration suddenly moved to allow hundreds of thousands of people who’ve lost their insurance due to Obamacare to sign up for bare-bone “catastrophic” plans. It’s at least the 14th unilateral change to Obamacare that’s been made without consulting Congress.
“It shows that the Obamacare insurance products aren’t selling so, at the last minute, the administration is holding a fire sale on a failed launch,” says Grace-Marie Turner of the Galen Institute, a health-care advocacy group. “Just think how you must feel if you were one of the people who spent the last two months fighting their way through HealthCare.gov to buy a policy that will be thousands of dollars more expensive than this catastrophic insurance!”
Of course, like every other exemption from Obamacare the latest fix is supposed to last only a year, raising the prospect that people will be kicked off their catastrophic coverage as soon as the 2014 election is safely in the political rear-view mirror.
The fact that no one really knows just how Obamacare is doing (the administration is hiding the numbers) or where it’s going (it’s like an impressionistic painting in progress) may explain the public consensus that’s developed behind delaying its implementation. This week’s Fox News poll found Obamacare to still be a polarizing issue with 53 percent of respondents wanting it repealed and 41 percent wanting to keep it. But then this question was asked: “Setting aside how you feel about the law, do you think implementation of it should be delayed for a year until more details are ironed out, or not?”
It wasn’t even close. By 67 percent to 28 percent people now want the law delayed. And every demographic group agrees: 57 percent of liberals, 65 percent of women, 67 percent of those under age 35, and 60 percent of lower-income voters. Even African Americans, the bedrock of Obama’s support base now favor a delay by 48 percent to 47 percent.
The public may not know the details of health-care policy, or how to navigate Obamacare’s website. But they can see the fiasco of Obamacare unfolding before them and they’re increasingly united on slowing it down. Look for more and more Democrats in Congress, who will have to face the voters next November, to join them.