Monday, November 25, 2013

His Demise is Greatly Exaggerated

The Economist argues that Obama's protective teflon coating has been penetrated, that he has lost the trust of the electorate, that he stands exposed with no more magic illusions to protect him, and, given all this, he will most likely sink. Time's argument is similar: Obama made a promise to people about keeping their healthcare, a promise he now admits he cannot keep. And, of course, there's the website, evidence (yet again) that our President may be smart, but he is incompetent as a manager.

The Economist cover is pre-Iran deal; so my guess is Obama might be depicted treading water, instead of heading right down into the deep. Suspect Time would stick with their cover, even if they put it out today.

So how bad a patch is it for the President? What should those of us on the Blue Team be concerned about?

Obamacare. Quite simply, Obamacare is the Obama Presidency, in symbolic ways, writ large and small. If gets fixed; if enrollment grows strongly through March 31, and 5-7 million sign up for private insurance on the Exchanges and another 4-5 million are added to Medicaid's roles;  if the under 35s' sign up in good numbers; if 2015 premium hikes are modest; if employers mostly stay with their insurance plans when the employer mandate kicks in next June 1 - then Obamacare will have made it to firm, sustainable ground, and this should be a winner for Dems in November.

I believe all of this will happen. There are signs already: in the first two weeks of November, CoveredCalifornia completed applications (through the eligibility determination stage) at the rate of 70,000 per week, or 10,000 per day. And under 35s' were 22.5% of the applications, slightly better than their 21% share of California's population. 39% of the signups are Medicaid/MediCal eligible; the rest qualify for private insurance. CoveredCa should beat their enrollment targets and clear well over 1 million enrollees by March 31. If California can do this with a well diversified 12% of the US population, we should be fine nationally, if not by March 31, 2014, certainly by the same date in 2015.

I believe it. AND I'm still praying. Hard.

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